Banksy protection fundraising begins in Cheltenham

image copyrightLiam McKinnon
image captionThe artwork was defaced just days after it first appeared on the wall in Cheltenham

Fans of a suspected Banksy artwork in Cheltenham have started raising money to try to protect it.

The artwork in Hewlett Road depicts three men using listening devices to "snoop" on a telephone box.

It was vandalised last Thursday, just days after it first appeared, but was saved when drinkers in a local pub washed off the white paint.

Locals want to permanently protect the piece by covering it with Perspex and installing CCTV to watch over it.

One of the people behind the fundraising scheme, Angela De Souza, said: "I think having Banksy on that wall is wonderful, much better than the blank wall that was there.

image copyrightCheltenham Pubs
image captionPub-goers and residents washed paint off the street art after it was vandalised

"It is something special for Cheltenham and should be preserved and celebrated.

"It's all great fun and it's good to have some positive stories in the news lately."

A spokesman said they were hoping to raise more than £500 to cover the cost of the the Perspex and CCTV, which would be monitored from inside the nearby Fairview pub.

Another fundraiser, Lorah-Kelly Beard, said: "I love how this simple piece of artwork has brought the community together and made Cheltenham a little more interesting."

The artwork has attracted thousands of visitors from all over the UK and abroad since it first appeared on 13 April.

The "guerrilla artist" Banksy is believed to be behind the piece, although there has been no official confirmation it is by him.

image captionThe artwork appeared three miles from GCHQ on 13 April

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