London police arrest second man after Banksy installation removed

London, UK - Police in London said on Sunday that officers had arrested a second man on suspicion of theft and criminal damage, after a Banksy artwork was removed from a south London street corner within hours of appearing.

Banksy artwork depicting drones covers a stop sign in London was removed shortly after it appeared, leading to two arrests.
Banksy artwork depicting drones covers a stop sign in London was removed shortly after it appeared, leading to two arrests.  © JOE BROWN via REUTERS

A man in his 20s arrested on Saturday over the incident the previous day has been released on bail until a date in mid-March pending further inquiries, the UK capital's Metropolitan Police Service added.

The Banksy installation, a traffic stop sign covered with three aircraft resembling military drones, emerged at an intersection in the Peckham neighborhood on Friday morning.

Less than an hour after the elusive street artist confirmed it was his latest work – posting a photo of it on social media – witnesses filmed it being removed by a man with bolt cutters, with the help of another man.

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Images and video posted on social media showed one of the pair running off with the sign under his arm.

The London police force initially said it had not been informed of an alleged crime.

But Southwark Council, which is responsible for local services – including street signage – said late Friday that it wanted the sign back and had reported the incident to officers.

Witnesses asked to contact London police

By Saturday evening, Metropolitan Police said a man had been arrested, with news of the second apprehension following Sunday.

The force asked anyone who witnessed the removal or "who may have information about the incident or the whereabouts of the sign" to call police.

Meanwhile, in a statement Friday, councillor Jasmine Ali, deputy leader of Southwark Council, hit out at the unauthorized removal.

"It should not have been removed and we'd like it back so everyone in the community can enjoy Banksy's brilliant work," she said. "We have reported the removal of our sign to the police to help get it back."

Cover photo: JOE BROWN via REUTERS

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