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Saturday, June 10, 2023

A couple woke up to find a Banksy mural on their wall. It turned into a ‘living nightmare’

  • A Banksy mural has been removed from the wall of a house in a seaside UK town.
  • It was painted in 2021 and became a “living nightmare” for the home owners.
  • They faced two options: pay $75,700 a year to maintain it or $379,000 to remove it.
A British couple has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars removing a Banksy mural from the side of their house after it became a “living nightmare”.
Garry and Gokean Coutts, from Lowestoft, woke up one morning in 2021 to find a 6-metre seagull on their wall. It was one of three murals painted in the seaside town as part of the ‘s Great British Staycation collection.
When it was first painted, the seagull appeared to be swooping down to tuck in on polystyrene ‘chips’ that were in a yellow skip.

The prop was taken away in December after a third party removed the fake chips in January 2022.

Work to remove the wall containing the mural began in April, and the final section was removed recently, British broadcaster the BBC reported on Tuesday.
On that same day, the country’s ran a story featuring an interview with Mr Coutts. He explained how the artwork — worth an estimated £3 million ($5.68 million), according to one local media report — became “extremely stressful” for him and his wife.
It had been targeted by vandals, and a “night watchman” had to be hired to protect it after someone stole part of it and tried to sell it online, Mr Coutts told the publication.
He said the local council had told him it would cost the pair £40,000 ($75,700) a year to maintain the artwork if they were to keep it.
“At first, it was obviously incredible, but as things have gone on, it has become extremely stressful. I’m not sure Banksy realises the unintended consequences on homeowners. If we could turn back the clock, we would,” Mr Coutts told The Times.

“It’s been a living nightmare. We have had some issues with cracks in the wall, so in order to make it safe, we’ve had to remove it because if there was an accident, we would be responsible,” he said.

He said the removal bill would likely come in at more than £200,000 ($379,000) and that he and his wife would “like to sell it and make something back on it”.
A Lowestoft Town Council spokesman told the BBC it was a privately-owned building and was “unaware of what has happened with the Banksy Seagull”.

The council “had not had any information on what the owner’s intentions are”, the spokesman added, according to the BBC.

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