Man arrested on suspicion of stealing Banksy road sign artwork

A man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing a new Banksy artwork, the Metropolitan Police have said.

The alleged robbery occurred less than an hour after Banksy claimed ownership of the installation, featuring a “stop” traffic sign emblazoned with 3D war planes, was unveiled in Peckham, South London on Friday (December 22).

Two men with bolt cutters were caught on camera removing the artwork at around 12:30pm, with one standing on the seat of a Lime bike to reach it, in front of numerous onlookers.


The Met have said that the arrested man remains in custody and investigations are ongoing.

The deputy Leader of Southwark Council, Jasmine Ali, said the artwork “should not have been removed”, adding: “We’d like it back so everyone in the community can enjoy Banksy’s brilliant work.” [via The Independent]

While unconfirmed, it is believed that the anti-war artwork relates to the current Israel-Palestine conflict, particularly given Banksy’s long history of creating art related to the ongoing tensions there. In 2005, he created numerous artworks on the Palestinian side of the West Bank Wall, which separated Palestine from Israel. Ten years later, he created street art in Gaza by adding his trademark stencils to pieces of rubble in what is considered some of his most provocative artwork to date.

Last year, Banksy also created seven new murals in various locations across Ukraine, particularly areas which had been badly impacted by the Russian invasion.

This isn’t the first occasion on which a piece he has created has faced the threat of theft. In December 2022, eight people were detained by Ukrainian authorities over the attempted theft of a Banksy mural from a building in Hostomel near Kyiv.


Meanwhile, it transpired that Banksy had seemingly revealed his real name in a newly unearthed interview from 2003.

Banksy – who first had his name printed in a report from The Independent – confirmed his name for the first time, as revealed via a press released shared by the BBC.

Wrench asked if he could use Banksy’s real name in the interview, citing that The Independent had already used it, asking the artist to confirm if his name was Robert Banks. “It’s Robbie,” Banksy clarified.