Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Hacked street signs in Edinburgh are illegal, council says

Clet Abraham Image copyright Clet Abraham
Image caption Clet Abraham said he hoped the signs remained in the streets rather than be put in a museum

Road signs altered by art works in Edinburgh are not legal and will have to be removed, council officials have confirmed.

The altered signs - including images of flowers and wine glasses - have been seen in South St David Street, Thistle Street and Union Street.

The signs were hacked by French artist Clet Abraham in March 2017 but no-one noticed for 18 months.

City of Edinburgh Council said it was looking to preserve the works.

A council spokesperson said: "We like Clet Abraham's work - it's quirky and has clearly created a buzz around the city and on social media.

"However, these signs are there for a specific purpose and, having checked with the experts, they're no longer legal.

"We're exploring options around how best to remove the artwork and whether it can be preserved in any way."

Image copyright Clet Abraham
Image caption Clet Abraham makes custom stickers to put on road signs

Art experts have welcomed the works and said the signs were still legible to drivers.

Mr Abraham makes extra signs he then sells to private clients and buys the signs from councils who take them down. His signs sell for between £1,000 and £10,000.

Speaking from his home in Italy on Friday, Mr Abraham told the BBC Scotland website he thought people had not noticed his work because there were too many signs in the city.

He said he hoped they remained in the streets rather than be put in a museum.

Mr Abraham, who previously claimed he had also left his stamp on 10 signs in Glasgow, said he felt a cultural affinity with Scotland.

The artist takes between two days and two years to come up with each design before hand drawing it and then putting it onto a computer to make a sticker.

He has hacked signs all over the world and been arrested in Japan.

He was caught by the police several times but has usually been allowed to carry on once he has explained to the police that he is "not a vandal".

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites