Welsh police seize Banksy artwork in criminal investigation


March 9 (UPI) — Three works by the British street artist Banksy have been seized as part of a criminal investigation by police in Wales, reports said.

The artwork seized by Welsh authorities include Banksy’s 2017 sculpture Grappling Hook, his 2003 screen-printed poster Monkey Queen and another work titled White Tower, The Evening Standard reported. The seizure was confirmed by police to ARTnews.


Together, the three works are valued at more than $262,322 and are suspected to be proceeds from a crime.

The bulk of the value comes from the Grappling Hook sculpture, which was created for The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem in 2017, a political exhibition to raise awareness of Middle East tensions.

The sculpture is made of acrylic and shellac on wood, painted polyurethane, aluminum, steel and rope and depicts Jesus on the cross of a military-grade grappling hook.

An edition of the sculpture was sold by Sotheby’s at auction in September 2019 for $130,264. Sotheby’s has sold at least seven editions of the Monkey Queen poster, which features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, for between $19,215 to $64,674.


It was not immediately clear when the works were seized.

Police declined to give details about the criminal investigation to either news outlet, other than that police are investigating a 35-year-old man for an alleged crime.

Banksy, infamous for his anonymity as an artist, has made headlines in recent weeks after Ukrainian officials installed shock-proof covers over several murals in Kyiv in February.

The artist unveiled new work stenciled on the sides of shelling-damaged buildings in Ukraine in November amid Russia’s war with the country.

Later that month, the Kyiv Regional Military Administration held a public meeting to discuss how to protect the latest graffiti in the settlements of Bucha, Borodyanka, Irpin and Gorenka near Kyiv.

Police in Ukraine later foiled an attempt to steal one of the works, a depiction of woman wearing a gas mask and holding a fire extinguisher. Eight people were arrested after they were caught trying to cut the image from the wall of the building.

Last month, an art dealer in Palm Beach, Fla., pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit artworks including pieces purported to be made by Banksy and other artists.