Specialists called in attempt to restore defaced Lowestoft North Beach Banksy mural
Specialists have been called in to try to restore the Banksy image which was defaced over night - as it emerges security patrols caught culprits in the act.
It had already been attracting visitors to the seaside resort from far a field and angry locals took to social media to express their horror, describing the vandalism as 'sickening, disgusting and pathetic."
It also emerged today that council patrols 'interrupted' the late-night vandals in the act and passed the information to police.
Meanwhile some residents have reportedly been trying to restore the image themselves.
A spokesperson for East Suffolk Council spokesperson said today: “We are naturally appalled that someone has chosen to behave in such a selfish and mindless way given how excited we are all by the appearance of these works here on the east coast.
"We are, however, hopeful that this particular work can be restored, and are engaging with specialists.
"We are very grateful for the huge goodwill of local people who are proud of these artworks, but we would kindly ask people not to try and repair the works themselves and to please leave this to professional restorers.
“Prior to confirmation that the works are genuine Banksy pieces, we had already placed an order for protective materials which will safeguard the works in Lowestoft and Oulton Broad.
"It is critically important that we protect the pieces with materials which are fit for purpose and we hope to complete this work shortly.
“In the interim, we have also employed security patrols to visit each site and on this occasion, our patrols actually interrupted the individual defacing this work and prevented any further damage occurring. Information from this is now being passed to the police."
Banksy confirmed ten murals across Suffolk and Norfolk were his, on Instagram, last week.
He said they were all part of his 'Great British Spraycation' in which he visited Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth, Cromer and Gorleston.
Lowestoft Town Councillor Nasima Begum called on East Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council to protect the popular images - four of which are in the town - as "a matter of urgency".
"It is just so upsetting as there was so much positivity about the murals. It's disgusting."
Suffolk Police has been approached for comment.