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Banksy confirms he is behind spy artwork near GCHQ

Street artist Banksy has confirmed he is behind the artwork which shows shady agents eavesdropping around a telephone box on a street in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

The piece appeared three miles from GCHQ, home of the Government's spying network, leading many to speculate that the artist is taking a swipe at the UK's intelligence-gathering methods.

The graffiti depicts figures in sunglasses and trench coats listening in on calls
The graffiti depicts figures in sunglasses and trench coats listening in on calls. Credit: SWNS

The mural shows three 1950s-style agents, wearing brown trench coats and trilby hats, using devices to tap into conversations at a telephone box.

The Bristol artist did not officially confirm the piece at the time but claimed responsibility during a question and answer session on his website.

Banksy was asked four questions on his website, including, "Did you paint the spies in Cheltenham?" to which he replied: "Yes".

In reply to another question the artist said the worst thing about street art is: "Having to make your mistakes in public".

Read: Mysterious mural of Queen Mary fuels speculation of new Banksy piece

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Racing sadness at news of McNamara paralysis

Jockey JT McNamara is said to be in a "very positive" frame of mind despite the injury. Credit: PA

Grand National-winning rider Mick Fitzgerald has spoken of his sadness and of the risks involved in racing after it was revealed by the family of rider JT McNamara that the serious neck injury he suffered in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival has led to paralysis.

Leading amateur McNamara, 37, was injured when Galaxy Rock fell at the first fence in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup and had to be airlifted to Bristol, where he remains, although plans are to be made for a transfer to Dublin in due course.

Fitzgerald told Sky Sports News: "It's a mixture of sadness, it's the end of a great career for a jockey who was an amateur and did it because he loved the game.

"When it happened at the time a sombre (mood) descended on Cheltenham, everyone had everything crossed and plenty of people were praying their worse fears wouldn't be realised.

"This is the end of a glittering career."

Jockey JT McNamara in coma after Cheltenham fall

Leading amateur jockey JT McNamara is in a coma in hospital after being injured when his horse fell at the Cheltenham festival, his uncle said tonight.

The Irishman, 37, fell at the first fence while riding Galaxy Rock for trainer Jonjo O'Neill in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup this afternoon.

Amateur jockey JT McNamar is in an induced coma tonight after a fall at Cheltenham. Credit: Press Assocation

McNamara's uncle, the trainer Andrew McNamara, said: "I've been told that JT is in an induced coma at the moment."

The jockey was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol by air ambulance from the Gloucestershire course.

Medical staff were quickly on hand to treat McNamara after the fall and it was decided to transfer him for further treatment without delay.

Feathers and fur: Ladies' Day at the Cheltenham Festival

Mimi Theobald from Inverness arrives for Ladies Day with her husband Doug Theobald, a retired Royal Australian Navy officer
Mimi Theobald from Inverness arrives for Ladies Day with her husband Doug Theobald, a retired Royal Australian Navy officer Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Braving the cold at the Cheltenham Festival the coats have stayed on and lots of fur has been on show, but despite the weather the hats have been no less impressive.

Styles this year seem to favour smaller hats with plenty of feathers making an appearance.

Princess Anne and Zara Phillips arrive for Ladies Day at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival
Princess Anne and Zara Phillips arrive for Ladies Day at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
Sarah Jordan (left) and Kirsty Scaplehorn from Cheltenham attend Ladies Day
Sarah Jordan (left) and Kirsty Scaplehorn from Cheltenham attend Ladies Day Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

How does Ladies' Day compare to last year?

Gallery: Ladies dress to impress at Cheltenham Festival 2012.

Ferniche Millinery poses for a picture during Ladies Day
Ferniche Millinery poses for a picture during Ladies Day Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

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West Country (E)

Cheltenham Festival goer still missing

A pensioner from Rotherham who is visiting the Cheltenham Festival remains missing on Wednesday.

Friends of 70 year old Philip Lucas last saw him around 5.50pm on Tuesday.

He was supposed to be staying in Cranham during the week of the festival.

Gloucestershire Constabulary have told ITV News West Country that they received a report of a possible sighting of Mr Lucas in the Kings Arms public house around 11.15pm on Tuesday, but there has been no confirmed information about his whereabouts.

Warming up in the snow at Cheltenham

Horses from Henry de Bromhead's stable exercise on the gallops
Horses from Henry de Bromhead's stable exercise on the gallops Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

With the first race being delayed by only 5 minutes, horses at Cheltenham have started warming up despite the snow.

Thousands of spectators are expected for the Gold Cup week.

Read: Snow causes travel disruption.

Sizing Australia (left) and Sizing Europe make their way to the gallops
Sizing Australia (left) and Sizing Europe make their way to the gallops Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

The Cheltenham Festival will open later amid warnings for race goers to leave extra time due to the poor weather.

Read: Cheltenham Festival gets the go-ahead.

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