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Banksy artwork recovered and man arrested

February 15, 2013, 10:12 am

Police in Greenwich have recovered an original Banksy artwork after being alerted of a fraud by an Essex art dealer.

The artworks – the original of ‘Wrong War’ and a signed print of ‘No Ball Games’ – were purchased for a total of £12,990 during January 2013.

Around two weeks after delivering the artworks to a customer in Plumstead, the art dealer received bank letters stating that the cards used did not have the authorisation of the cardholders and therefore both payments were being cancelled and refunded to the cardholder.

This left the dealer without the artworks or payments and he reported the matter to the Metropolitan Police Service. Officers from Greenwich CID investigated.

In the meantime, the suspect had contacted the art dealer again, this time to make a purchase of two Banksy prints worth a total of £10,000. Police were informed of this order and on Friday 8 February police arrested a 25-year-old man at an address in Plumstead. This suspect has now been bailed pending further enquiries.

Officers searched an address in Charlton, believed to be linked to the suspect, where they recovered ‘Wrong War’.

The artwork ‘No Ball Games’ was recovered after a member of the public purchased it from the suspect. He became suspicious of the transaction and contacted the Essex art gallery directly, subsequently returning the artwork.

Detective Sergeant Geoff Grogan from Greenwich CID said: “We acted very quickly after the victim contacted us and this gave us the opportunity not only to make an arrest, but also to recover the artworks.

“We believe that there may be more than one person involved. We are also in the process of contacting the card holders who were unaware that their cards were being used. Our investigation is still open and will continue”.

One of the cards used in the transaction is registered to a card holder in Arizona. Police are currently in the process of identifying the second card holder.

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