Property owner paints over Banksy street art
Building was 'in need of improvement'
The owner of a building in Calais has painted over a piece of Banksy street art because - he said - the property was badly in need of improvement.
The work, based on Théodore Géricault's famous painting The Raft of Medusa, local newspaper Nord Littoral reports. It was one of three the artist produced in 2015 in the port town.
The dozens of migrants adrift on the raft in Banksy's update of the 1819 masterpiece were signalling to a ferry connecting Calais to Dover.
The property owner, Georges Lagouge, told the newspaper that he had been willing to spare the painting, which had been badly damaged by graffiti despite being protected by a clear plastic covering, provided it could be restored at no cost to him.
But, he said: "Everyone wants to protect this work, but no one wants to take care of it."
The local council, however, insisted it had not been in communication with Mr Lagouge over the street art. But deputy mayor Emmanuel Agius accepted that the property owner had the right to maintain and improve his property.
Works by Banksy have sold at auction for hundreds of thousands of pounds.