Police recover original Banksy artwork after alleged fraud
20:25 14 February 2013
Police have recovered an original Banksy artwork after an art dealer alerted officers to an alleged fraud.
The original Wrong War, and a signed print of the artist’s No Ball Games, were purchased for £12,990 in January.
Around two weeks after delivering the works to a customer in Plumstead, the art dealer in Essex received bank letters stating that the cards used to purchase the images did not have the authorisation of the cardholders and therefore both payments were being cancelled and refunded to the cardholder.
The dealer reported the matter to the Met Police.
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 February 8 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.
No Ball Games was recovered after a member of the public purchased it from the suspect and became suspicious of the transaction. He 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”.