A new Banksy artwork has been torn down just hours after it was discovered – and could leave a cash-strapped boy’s club at least £100,000 better off.
The elusive artist created ‘Mobile Lovers’, depicting a couple embracing while looking at their mobile phones, at the weekend and posted it on his website on Monday.
Mystery surrounded the location of the piece – and a second mural of spies surrounding a phone box was also found in Cheltenham.
But the couples kissing art was quickly spotted on a boarded-up doorway in a wall on a rundown street on the edge of Bristol city centre.
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The financially struggling youth group – who insist Banksy wanted them to have it – plan to sell the work to fund the future of the club, and hope to bring in £100,000.
Leader of the youth club Dennis Stinchcombe MBE, 58, said: “He has given it to the club. He couldn’t give it to us directly as the gates were locked so he put it as close as he could.
“He has done it to help the right people. I was approached by somebody who knows Banksy very well. He’s an artist himself and he said ‘you need to take that Dennis, get it into that club – it’s what it is meant for’
“Banksy never does his street art on pieces of wood – they are always on walls so they can’t be taken away.
“We need £120,000 to keep going and our fundraising appeal has so far only brought a few thousand pounds.
“Now we’ve ended up with a Banksy on our doorstep. It is a dream come true. I’m absolutely buzzing.
“We have taken it off the wall carefully, it isn’t damaged at all. If anyone wants to see it they can come in here and put a donation in the box if they feel like it.
“Somebody was saying it is worth £40,000 but I am hoping for £100,000. It has been authenticated on his website but I am going to try to get it officially done as well.
“We will let people come and see it in here for a while then get it to Bonhams for valuation.
“The money will allow us to do everything we could dream of. It will stand us in good stead for the next 120 years.”
Bristol City Council said they were not “100 per cent sure of the ownership” of the wall the artwork was attached to.
But today all that was left where it stood was a sign which said: “The new Banksy piece is being held in our club to prevent any vandalism or damage being done.
“You are free to come and view but a small donation will be asked of you. Thanks.”
This latest artwork in Clement Street comes just days after a mum-of-five woke up to find a Banksy mural on the side of her rented house on Sunday.
Stunned Karen Smith, 48, heard voices outside in the early hours but thought nothing of it until she spotted men loading huge screens into a van.
She watched them zoom off before finding a painting of three 1950s-style spies on the side of her £300,000 three-bed semi in Cheltenham, Glos.
The men in the picture are carrying listening devices and crowded around a real phone box outside her home.