Banksy artwork taken in north London withdrawn from sale

Banksy mural The work is thought to be a commentary on the use of sweat-shop labour

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A Banksy artwork which was taken from a London street and had been listed for auction in the US has been withdrawn from sale, the BBC has learned.

The Banksy mural, depicting a boy hunched over a sewing machine making Union Jack bunting, disappeared from Whymark Avenue earlier this month.

It had been expected to be auctioned in Miami later but the auction house told the BBC the sale was halted.

A new mural had appeared on the street wall where the image was removed.

Slave Labour - the mural that was removed - appeared on the wall in Wood Green, north London, last May, shortly before the celebrations to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

It disappeared from the side of the Poundland store last weekend and had been expected to fetch up to £450,000 at auction in Miami.

Fine Art Auctions Miami (FAAM) confirmed to the BBC that the Banksy mural had been withdrawn from sale.

However, a spokesman gave no reason for its withdrawal.

"Although there are no legal issues whatsoever regarding the sale of lots six and seven by Banksy, FAAM convinced its consignors to withdraw these lots from the auction and take back the power of authority of these works," he said.

'Affection' and 'disappointment'

Earlier, Haringey Council said it had learned that the sale was stopped at the last minute.

Haringey Council Leader Claire Kober said it was "a true credit to the community" that their campaigning seemed to have "helped to stop the sale of this artwork from going ahead".

"We will continue to explore all options to bring back Banksy to the community where it belongs," she said.

It appeared that a starting bid of $400,000 (£262,450) had been made before the auction of the artwork was halted.

The new mural that appeared on the north London wall depicts a woman in a nun's habit, but it is not known if it is by Banksy.

BBC Oxford producer Andy Gordon was visiting relatives on Saturday when he snapped the newest addition to Whymark Avenue in Haringey.

Artwork on Whymark Avenue, Haringey A new mural has appeared at the site of the taken Banksy artwork

"We thought we were just going along to see the gap in the wall and were surprised to see something else had appeared.

"There was obviously a lot of affection for it in Wood Green and a lot of people were very disappointed when their Banksy disappeared."

He said the new mural had appeared in exactly the same spot as the Banksy artwork.

Local councillor Alan Strickland said residents had been left "really shocked and really astonished" at the disappearance of the mural of the boy.

"Banksy gave that piece of art to our community, and people came from all over London to see it," he said.

Banksy's work has been at the centre of a number of thefts over the years.

In May 2010, two pieces were stolen from a gallery in London, after a man used a road sign to smash a glass window at the front of the building.

A year later, a piece known as Sperm Alarm was ripped off the wall of a hotel in Central London, and appeared on eBay for £17,000. It was never recovered.

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