Real Estate

Couple pays over $240K to have Banksy mural removed: ‘Living nightmare’

Having a Banksy proved much more of a curse than a blessing for these homeowners.

A pair of UK landlords paid handsomely last month to get rid of a piece by the graffiti artist that randomly appeared on their property in August 2021.

Garry and Gokean Coutts learned that their Suffolk home had been chosen as a canvas by the world-famous street painter when their tenants informed them scaffolding had randomly appeared outside — only for it to disappear the next day, replaced by a Banksy mural of a seagull, the Daily Mail reported.

Now they are estimated to shell out about $247,000 to let the bird take flight.

“​​At first it was obviously incredible,” Garry reflected about the artwork, which is potentially worth millions. “But as things have gone on, it has become extremely stressful. I’m not sure Banksy realizes the unintended consequences on homeowners. If we could turn back the clock, we would.”

A local council official informed the couple it could put a “preservation order” on the artwork and hold the couple personally responsible for maintaining it — at a cost of tens of thousands annually.

“I have had to hire a night watchman to look after it after someone stole part of it and tried to sell it on Facebook,” said Garry. “Another time vandals were caught with a dozen pots of white paint and were apparently going to paint over it.”

banksy mural removed uk
The building after the wall was mostly removed.
Gary Freeman / SWNS
banksy mural removed uk
Specialist workmen remove a Banksy mural.
Gary Freeman / SWNS
banksy mural removed uk
Residents in a seaside resort reacted with dismay to discover a Banksy piece worth millions had been removed.
Oliv3r Drone Photography / SWNS

The Coutts decided to rid themselves of the burden, with the hassle far worse than the distinction of unwillingly owning an original Banksy. 

In April, they hired a building firm to reinforce the wall where the seagull appeared before using a 40-foot crane to remove it in one piece.

Now, according to the Daily Mail, the Coutts hope to sell the artwork and recur some of the more than $60,000 it cost to remove it. 

They plan to replace it with a replica, but onlookers are not empathetic, with one onlooker claiming the Banksy was being “stolen from the town” on the night of its removal and others expressing sadness that it was leaving.