London police investigate removal of Banksy drone stop sign – DW – 12/23/2023

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Detectives are investigating the removal of a Banksy artwork, London police said on Saturday.

Witnesses took photos and recorded video of a man removing a red stop sign with three military drones on it.

The artwork was located in the Peckham area of south London.

“Banksy” is the pseudonym of a British street artist, whose work has often taken aim at themes such as war. The sign was allegedly stolen shortly after the artist posted a photo of the artwork to his Instagram page.

In one of the recorded videos, a man cut the sign off its signpost with bolt cutters after climbing onto a bicycle. Another man assisted by holding the bike steady.

The man who cut the sign off its post then ran away with it.

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London’s Metropolitan Police has asked citizens to come forward with any information about the suspected theft.

No arrest had been made by late Saturday. The stop sign has since been replaced.

Witnesses ‘bemused’

One person who saw the event told Britain’s PA news agency that eyewitnesses were unsure how to respond to it.

“We said: ‘What are you doing?’ But no one really knew what to do, we sort of just watched it happen,” Alex said.

“We were all a bit bemused,” Alex added. “There was some honking of car horns.”

The deputy leader of the local council, Jasmine Ali, said the piece should be returned.

“It should not have been removed, and we’d like it back so everyone in the community can enjoy Banksy’s brilliant work,” she said.

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This is not the first time one of Banksy’s artworks has been removed.

In December 2022, Ukrainian police arrested eight people who were attempting to remove a Banksy mural in the capital, Kyiv. The suspected mastermind could spend up to 12 years in jail if found guilty.

sdi/lo (AP, AFP)

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