Banksy artwork removed from Cheltenham house

Pile of rubble at sight of Spy Booth artwork
Image caption A pile of rubble now lies beneath the wall where the Banksy artwork was

A Banksy artwork painted on the side of a listed building in Cheltenham has been removed.

Spy Booth depicted 1950s-style spies "snooping" on a man in a phone box. It appeared in 2014, three miles from government listening post GCHQ.

A pile of rubble now lies on the ground below the wall of the house it was on.

The piece gained listed status last year after Cheltenham Borough Council granted it retrospective planning permission.

A social media post on Saturday appeared to show the mural being cut down behind a tarpaulin, with the sound of machinery audible.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The artwork appeared in April 2014

Local people had campaigned to save the artwork, on the corner of Fairview Road and Hewlett Road, after an apparent attempt to remove it for it to be sold in July 2014.

It was later defaced with spray paint and has been vandalised several times since.

In January this year the Grade II-listed house was put for for sale.

A Gloucestershire Police spokeswoman said the force had had no reports of a crime being committed.


From the scene - BBC reporter David Bailey

Looking behind the tarpaulin and scaffolding which had already been erected around the Banksy, all that can be seen now is a bare brick wall and a pile of rubble.

But has the Banksy artwork actually been destroyed?

Bits of the rubble definitely have plaster on them, but there do not appear to be many pieces with paint on them.

So could Spy Booth have in fact been taken away and saved?

A post on Twitter from a local resident suggests it is not the last we have seen of the mural.

"It'll be back. Plans have been made," the post says.

Or perhaps that simply means it will be repainted one day?

All attempts I have made today to contact the house owner have failed.

Until we find out exactly what has happened to Spy Booth, it will remain a mystery.


Steve Jordan, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, said work had been taking place to repair plasterwork on the wall of the house after the council had issued an enforcement notice.

But he said he was unaware the Banksy had vanished.

"It is protected by a listing. I will have a look at what the situation is, certainly," he said.

Image caption The Banksy was given legal protection after Cheltenham Borough Council granted it retrospective planning permission
Image copyright Google
Image caption The house was put up for sale in January with a guide price of £210,000
Image copyright Hekmat Kaveh
Image caption The Banksy had been the target of thieves, and was vandalised after it first appeared

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