A COUPLE who woke up to find a huge Banksy mural on the side of their home has told how it became a living nightmare.
Garry and Gokean Coutts were forced to fork out £200,000 after the secretive artist painted a 6m-tall seagull on their wall in 2021.
The graffiti artist’s mural showed the huge bird swooping down to munch on polystyrene chips piled in a yellow skip.
But after the Coutts’ were told by Suffolk council it would cost tens of thousands of pounds to maintain every year – they made the decision to have it removed.
Mr Coutts told The Times: “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.
“We had the council get in touch to tell us that they could put a preservation order on the piece and we would be responsible for maintaining it at a cost of £40,000 a year.
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“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. Another time vandals were caught with a dozen pots of white paint and were apparently going to paint over it.
“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.”
Over the last month the 22-tonne artwork was removed in a huge operation involving a crane.
Mr Coutts continued: “Removing it has been a huge feat — it’s involved reinforcing it with 12 layers of resin, fibreglass and 5 tonnes of steel and using a 40ft crane to take it away.
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“Now we need to figure out what to do with it. The bill to take it out will likely top £200,000 and we’re just normal people so we’d like to sell it and make something back on it.”
East Suffolk Council told Eastern Daily Press: “While we are naturally disappointed by the reported removal of the Banksy seagull from the side of a building in Lowestoft, it is ultimately the right of the owner to make decisions about their own property.
“We acknowledge that Banksy works, by their nature, may not always be permanent features.
“We remain grateful for the attention that Banksy has brought to Lowestoft – a town with a burgeoning arts and cultural scene that will continue to go from strength to strength.”
It comes after a new Banksy mural which was ruined by jobsworth council workers had parts stolen from it before it could be preserved.
The artwork on the side of a building in Margate, Kent, originally showed a bruised 1950s housewife in an apron and washing-up gloves pushing a man into a freezer.
But just 24 hours after the artwork was first spotted, council workers removed the freezer – leaving behind a blank space.
Thanet Council later made a U-turn, putting the freezer back in place – after a bizarre interlude in which it was replaced by a wheelie bin.In a still stranger twist, the freezer was removed again, hours after after the council put it back.