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Banksy murals in Lowestoft protected by plastic screens after vandals target artworks in 'selfish and mindless' attacks




A council has put up plastic shielding to protect new Banksy murals from vandals after one of the artworks was defaced.

The graffiti appeared in the town earlier this month, and the elusive artist confirmed he was behind the works at the weekend. But just hours after Banksy revealed his Great British Spraycation, the rat on Lowestoft's North Beach sea wall was defaced by vandals who smeared white paint over it.

But today East Suffolk Council have stepped in to protect two of the pieces in and around the town from damage, and work is under way on stopping a third from being ruined.

The Banksy artwork in Lowestoft, which has now been protected by East Suffolk District Council contractors. Picture: Effective Imaging Ltd/East Suffolk District Council
The Banksy artwork in Lowestoft, which has now been protected by East Suffolk District Council contractors. Picture: Effective Imaging Ltd/East Suffolk District Council

"Protective screens have now been installed on the Banksy artworks in Lowestoft and Oulton Broad, including on the rat - which has been covered to prevent further damage," a district council spokesman said.

"This will allow us time to work with specialists who may be able to restore this piece for residents and visitors to enjoy once again."

The seagull in Denmark Road will have security on site until it is covered, with council contractors still working at the site because of the size of the mural.

A man in orange overalls removes part of Oulton Broad's Banksy of three children with the tagline 'we're all in the same boat'. Picture: PA Meida
A man in orange overalls removes part of Oulton Broad's Banksy of three children with the tagline 'we're all in the same boat'. Picture: PA Meida

And the screening is made from a special type of plastic, one which will protect from fading caused by the Sun's ultraviolet rays.

On Sunday, when the seafront rat was found defaced, East Suffolk Council described the vandalism as selfish and mindless, but said it was hopeful that it could be restored.

It said its patrols had stopped the vandal in the act, and that the protective screens it has now put in place were ordered before they had been confirmed to be official works by the anonymous artist.

Pictured are Karen Lawrence and Caroline Davidson with the piece of art which was found in the exhibition and believed to be by Banksy. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pictured are Karen Lawrence and Caroline Davidson with the piece of art which was found in the exhibition and believed to be by Banksy. Picture: Mark Bullimore

And Suffolk Police yesterday launched an appeal to catch the person responsible for painting over the artwork, which it believed happened at some point between 5.35pm on Saturday to just after midnight on Sunday.

It is thought Bansky may have visited Moyse's Hall Museum's modern exhibition in Bury St Edmunds where 18 of his works are on display before going on his graffiti spree.

And with speculation rife about Banksy's activity in and around Suffolk, at an exhibition at Rickinghall Church on Saturday, organisers were left scratching their heads after finding a mysterious art piece lying around inside a side chapel – with nobody knowing how it got there.

The picture, which depicts a rat holding a paint roller, bares a striking resemblance to the work of the world-renowned street artist.

The Great British Spraycation, as well as Lowestoft and Oulton Broad, has works in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston-on-Sea, Cromer, and King's Lynn.

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk

Read more: All the latest news from Lowestoft