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Banksy Antiques Roadshow
BBC 'Antiques Roadshow' via Metro

This man tried to sell his stolen Banksy on Antiques Roadshow

Someone call pest control

This is a story of one man and his bold attempt to make money by going on television and telling the nation he stole a Banksy artwork.

The man in question appeared on Antiques Roadshow with what he claimed was a piece of Banksy artwork from 2004. In video footage which can be viewed on Metro, he tells art expert Rupert Maas that he had taken the design, which features a cartoon rat holding onto a power drill, from a wall at the Saltdean Lido in Brighton.

“I used to live in Brighton in the late 90s, early 2000s, and I was walking along the Brighton seafront when I saw it on the Lido,” he explains to Maas. “It looked loose, I went over, pulled it off basically.”

Asked by Maas what he wanted to know about the artwork, the man said he was already aware of what it was and when it was from. “I’m basically just trying to get a valuation of it,” he admits.

In response, Maas warns the man that Banksy manages his brand “very, very carefully indeed,” and that you can apply and be granted a certificate of authenticity but only if the team believes that the work has not been removed from the public domain for which it was painted, and into the private. “He calls it pest control,” Maas hilariously explains. 

The man then tells Maas that he has, in fact, tried to obtain a certificate in the past but was told by Banksy’s team that it couldn’t be authenticated as an original piece, despite the fact that he knows it is real. Maas says that while with a certificate the art could be worth up to £20,000, without one he was nowhere. “I think the message is, if you do see a piece of graffiti art out there, leave it for the public,” he ends with. 

Over on Twitter, people were taken aback by the brazenness of the man’s actions. “The cheek of nicking a Banksy and then going on the #antiquesroadshow to get it valued,” one user commented, while another wrote, “Man on #antiquesroadshow who nicked a #Banksy from public domain tries not to look gutted when told it's worth nothing, because the artist won't verify it. Wonder how many £k he'll get for it?”

Last month, Banksy's former agent, Steve Lazarides, opened a new online shop to sell artwork and items from his personal collection including Banksy pieces one of which is available to purchase for £45,000.