Banksy: Man arrested over removal of road sign art in Peckhamon December 23, 2023 at 7:21 pm

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Man held on suspicion of theft and criminal damage of south London sign featuring work by the artist.

Banksy artworkImage source, PA Media

A man has been arrested on suspicion of theft and criminal damage after a road sign featuring work by the elusive street artist Banksy was removed, the Metropolitan Police has said.

The artwork – a red stop sign with three military drones on – was unveiled on the corner of Commercial Way, Peckham, south-east London, on Friday.

It was taken by a man with bolt cutters within an hour as witnesses took photos.

Police said investigations are ongoing.

The Met, which launched an investigation after receiving a report of a theft from Southwark Council, said the arrested man remains in custody.

Officers said a new traffic sign had been put up by the local authority to avoid endangering road users.

“We are aware of footage being shared which shows the sign being removed,” the force said, adding that anyone with information about the incident or the whereabouts of the sign should call police.

The sign was removed after Banksy confirmed it was genuine by posting a photo on his Instagram account.

In a video that later appeared on social media, a man could be seen holding a Lime hire bike steady as a second man stood on its saddle and reached up to cut the artwork free using bolt cutters.

Wrenching it off the post, he then ran down the street and out of sight.

On Saturday afternoon, a local street artist placed her own reproduction of the missing Banksy artwork at the location, telling the BBC that art is for everyone.

A new version of the drone artwork has been added under the replaced stop sign

Banksy’s Instagram followers have widely interpreted his latest work as calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Similar drone art appeared at Banksy’s Walled Off hotel in Bethlehem in 2017 which he said had “the worst view of any hotel in the world” – referencing Israel’s controversial wall in the West Bank.

After the sign was removed, Southwark Council’s deputy leader Jasmine Ali confirmed the incident had been reported to the police.

She said they had every confidence it would be returned.

“We are not just talking about a street sign here, it is a work of art which was put there for the community. It is street art and it is for the people,” she said.

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