Banksy confirms he painted spy work

Herald Series: Banksy has confirmed he painted a mural depicting agents in Cheltenham. Banksy has confirmed he painted a mural depicting agents in Cheltenham.

Mysterious street artist Banksy has confirmed he is behind an artwork which targets the issue of Government surveillance.

The creation shows three 1950s-style agents, wearing brown trench coats and trilby hats, using devices to tap into conversations at a telephone box.

It appeared overnight on a street in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, just a few miles from GCHQ, where the UK's surveillance network is based.

Residents saw a group of men packing away a large white tarpaulin in Fairview Road in April, before driving off in a maintenance van.

The celebrated Bristol artist did not officially confirm the piece at the time but now he has finally claimed responsibility for it on his website.

On a link titled Q&A, Banksy was asked four questions, including, "Did you paint the spies in Cheltenham?". He simply replied: "Yes."

Banksy was also asked about the best and worst things about street art, to which he answered: "Having to make your mistakes in public."

Another question asked: "What's the deal with Sotheby's?"

Banksy replied: "As a kid I always dreamed of growing up to be a character in Robin Hood. I never realised I'd end up playing one of the gold coins."

An artwork situated by a youth club in Bristol, named Mobile Lovers, was discovered the day after the spy piece in Cheltenham.

Banksy quickly confirmed it and later gave his blessing for Broad Plain & Riverside Youth Project to use the piece.

Dennis Stinchcombe MBE, leader of the project, removed the piece from a doorway near the club and plans to auction it to raise funds.

Speaking after the piece in Cheltenham was discovered, a spokesman for GCHQ said they were "intrigued" by it.

"This is the first time we have ever been asked to comment on art," the GCHQ spokesman said.

"Although we are not qualified critics, we are as intrigued as the rest of the residents of Cheltenham about the appearance of the mysterious artwork.

"For those who are interested, our website (www.gchq.gov.uk) gives a glimpse of what modern day intelligence operatives are really like, although some may be disappointed by the lack of trench coats and dark glasses."

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