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Banksy 'Spy Booth' surveillance artwork disappears

The Spy Booth mural has been vandalised several times. Photo: PA

A popular Banksy artwork poking fun at government surveillance has been removed, and no one is sure who removed it.

The Spy Booth mural pictured three 1950s-style spy agents wearing trilby hats and trench coats, using devices to tap into phonecalls at a telephone box.

The mural, located about 3 miles from government listening post GCHQ, has been a source of controversy ever since it appeared. Credit: ITV News

It appeared overnight on the wall of a house in Cheltenham in April 2014, and was just a few miles away from GCHQ where the UK's surveillance network is based.

The artwork had been repeatedly vandalised since being painted on a Grade II-listed Georgian end-of-terrace home, which went on the market for £210,000 earlier this year.

The artwork has been vandalised in the past and has had people try to steal it. Credit: ITV News

In February 2015, Cheltenham Borough Council gave the work retrospective planning permission, meaning it cannot be removed without council approval.

But pictures from the scene at the weekend showed the wall had been stripped back to brickwork, with rubble lying on the ground around the phone box.

A video posted on Twitter on Saturday seemed to show the site of the work covered with a tarpaulin, with the sound of machinery on masonry.

Gloucestershire Police said they had not received any reports of a crime taking place at the scene.

Councillor Steve Jordan, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, said work had been taking place to repair plasterwork on the house but was not aware of the mural being removed.

[The artwork] is protected by a listing. I will have a look at what the situation is, certainly.

– Cllr Steve Jordan
The vanished Banksy Credit: ITV West Country

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