Firstly? Make sure it is, in fact, a Banksy.
It’s been a busy week in the art world for Britain’s most famous street artist. First, Banksy’s mural Spy Booth, was removed and feared destroyed during building works on an unstable house in Cheltenham (not far from GCHQ – the head of the UK government’s surveillance services); and it has also been revealed that two men were arrested in Kent attempting to steal (what they assumed) was the Banksy mural Art Buff.
However, the original Banksy mural of Art Buff – which had been painted in 2014 as part of the Folkstone Triennial, had actually already been removed. It has been part of a hefty legal battle for a while now; over disagreements about it being shipped to the US, and then ordered to return to the UK.
The stenciled work the robbers attempted to steal was an homage to the original by street artist Robsci; but were stopped in their tracks after officers on patrol caught sight of two men trying to remove the work (only installed the previous day on a chipboard awning covering the derelict building) but underestimating the weight of the panels.
One man has been charged with drink driving, and another was arrested on suspicion of theft; but was released without charge.
The call for the return of the original Banksy, Art Buff, to Kent was launched by Folkestone arts charity the Creative Foundation, which runs the Folkestone Triennial.
Ioannis Ioannou, the Creative Foundation marketing manager, said: “Our Banksy is in storage safe. It looks like someone has just copied it. Robsci is a local guy who goes around doing graffiti similar to Banksy.”