Kent

Banksy mural "to be returned" to Folkestone after High Court fight

The mural called Art Buff is on a wall in Payer Park in Folkestone
Image caption The image appeared on a wall in Payers Park in Folkestone during the town's Triennial Festival

A mural thought to have been painted by street artist Banksy looks likely to be returned to Folkestone following a High Court battle.

The mural, depicting a woman staring at an empty plinth, was removed from the wall of an amusement arcade and put up for sale.

The Creative Foundation - a charity which promotes arts in Folkestone - and arcade bosses disputed ownership.

However, a judge at the High Court ruled it should return.

The mural, entitled "Art Buff", appeared on the wall in September 2014 during the Folkestone Triennial arts festival, which is organised by the Creative Foundation.

Soon after it was painted a cartoon penis was daubed on the artwork, although there were suggestions this was done by Banksy himself.

The owners of the wall in Payers Park, the Godden family, had said it became difficult to protect the work and removed it in November.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The image was vandalised soon after it appeared

It was due to go on sale for about $750,000 (£470,000) at the Context Art Miami event in December, with proceeds going towards the Jim Godden Memorial Cancer Trust.

This was stopped following a court injunction.

Alastair Upton, who is the chief executive of the Creative Foundation, said the mural was extremely popular and attracted a lot of visitors.

"When the Banksy comes back from New York we will find the right place to put it in Folkestone and so everybody can visit it and enjoy it," he said.

"To have lost the Banksy was really hard, but to have got it back is thrilling."

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