A new Banksy painting said to be worth up to £300,000 has been removed for sale just a month after first appearing.
The mural, called ‘Art Buff’, showed an elderly woman gazing at an empty plinth and was on the wall of an amusement arcade in Folkestone, Kent.
It was vandalised within days of appearing at the end of September and the local council put a perspex cover over it to protect it.
It was drilled out and taken away by workmen on Saturday who refused to say who they were acting for.
Five police cars were sent to the scene amid reports that local artists were trying block the removal but no arrests were made.
Sam Millen, an artist and designer who lives in Folkestone, said: “I went up there and heard the drilling coming from the inside.
“I noticed a couple of drill holes and looked like they are taking it out.
“It’s a huge chunk of money though so I wouldn’t blame them.
“It’s on their property but it’s a bit of a shame.
“And it’s the final weekend of the Triennial so if it comes out today anyone coming down will miss it.”
Banksy revealed the painting was his contribution to the Folkestone Triennial festival which ends tomorrow after two months.
The artwork is estimated to be worth more than £300,000 and a similar operation was carried out on Banksy’s Kissing Coppers piece on a pub wall in Brighton which sold at auction in Miami earlier this year for £345,000.
Its sale is believed to be being overseen by Robin Barton, owner of the Bankrobber gallery in London, who has helped find buyers for previous Banksys.