Owners of Banksy property step up security to protect 'achoo' artwork

Watch Max Walsh's report

The owners of a house in Bristol where the latest Banksy artwork has appeared have installed 24-hour security to help keep it safe.

It comes as they become more and more aware of the threat of vandals and the growing attention it's now receiving.

Crowds have gathered since it was first discovered yesterday, 10th December, to take a photo of the newly famous work - entitled 'achoo' in reference to the coronavirus pandemic.

Art dealer John Brandler with the Banksy he bought in Port Talbot. Credit: ITV News

Two years ago art dealer John Brandler bought a Banksy piece in Port Talbot, South Wales for a six figure sum. He's now helping advise the new owners in Totterdown about what to do next.

"He is the Picasso of the 21st century.

He is the most intelligent artist that I know and everybody can understand what he is saying. You don't need three bottles of scotch and an art degree to understand what he is doing."

Banksy's works have a history of generating huge levels of interest, money but also vandalism.

A valentine's day themed piece by Banksy earlier this year in the Barton Hill area of Bristol, was vandalised just 24 hours after he confirmed it was his.

In 2014 a campaigner worked to keep this Banksy artwork in Cheltenham safe and succeeded-until it was destroyed two years later. Credit: ITV News West Country

In 2014 Angela de Souza campaigned to protect a Banksy piece in Cheltenham and succeeded - until it was then destroyed two years later .

Her advice to the owners is to get all the help they can.

"I think it needs to be taken seriously as a community project.

I don't think any one person or family should tackle this alone. It is too stressful. Get people in the community who are passionate about it, formulate a strategic plan and decide how you are going to protect it and what outcome you want."

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