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New Banksy street art appears, disappears

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Lindsay Isaac, CNN
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
New Banksy artwork, Mobile Lovers, displayed inside the Broad Plain Boys youth center on April 16, 2014 in Bristol, England.
New Banksy artwork, Mobile Lovers, displayed inside the Broad Plain Boys youth center on April 16, 2014 in Bristol, England.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Banksy artwork appears on UK city street but is soon taken down
  • A youth center says it took the piece down to "prevent vandalism"
  • The street art shows a couple embracing while checking their mobile phones
  • A mural showing secret agents, believed to be a Banksy, also discovered this weekend

London (CNN) -- Now you see it, now you don't.

New street art by famously anonymous graffiti artist Banksy has been removed from a wall just hours after it was tracked down to a street in the British city of Bristol.

The artwork, called "Mobile Lovers," shows a couple checking their cell phones while in mid-embrace.

Members of the Broad Plain Boys youth center used a crowbar to remove it just hours after it was discovered, local media pictures showed.

In its place, the youth center posted a note saying it was held at the club "to prevent vandalism or damage being done."

A Banksy mural depicting pigeons holding anti-immigration signs was destroyed by the local council in Clacton-on-Sea, England on October 1 after the council received complaints that the artwork was offensive. A Banksy mural depicting pigeons holding anti-immigration signs was destroyed by the local council in Clacton-on-Sea, England on October 1 after the council received complaints that the artwork was offensive.
Banksy, the elusive street artist
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Photos: Banksy, the elusive street artist Photos: Banksy, the elusive street artist
Banksy releases image for Syria conflict

A spokeswoman for the club told CNN the youth center had no plans for the stencil work for now. She said fans are welcome to view it, but they would be asked for a voluntary donation to club to help with the youth center's upkeep.

As the celebrated artist sent his fans out on a treasure hunt, one devotee said she found the piece using Flickr and Google Street View.

"I was so excited, I popped down there and took a couple of photos ... but didn't tweet them because it's only held on with screws and I was worried the first person to go there would be a thief," Banksy fan Sally was quoted as saying by Britain's BBC.

Bristol is where Banksy's art first appeared more than 20 years ago.

Is it a Banksy? UK street art image appears to show spies at work

Secret agents

On Monday, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson welcomed the appearance of the image.

"It's good to see another witty Banksy raid on his home city -- respectfully painted in a blocked up doorway," he said. "I hope it will be respected and protected as we would want for any other legitimate work of street art."

The discovery of the new artwork came after another piece, believed to be a Banksy, was found in the provincial English spa town of Cheltenham, in Gloucestershire.

Clad in brown trench coats, dark glasses and trilby hats, what appear to be three secret agents huddle around a payphone box with listening equipment.

The image -- apparently a comment on the issue of government surveillance -- appeared early Sunday, local media said, on a house wall.

The location may be a reference to the town's role as host to Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, known as GCHQ -- the UK equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency.

Banksy's last high-profile project was a month-long street art "residency" in New York City.

Each day of October, Banksy unveiled new works of art around New York. The works were then announced on his website and posted to Instagram. Many of the surprise exhibits followed his signature street-art style: stencils spray-painted on streets, walls of buildings and under bridges.

READ: Banksy bids farewell to New York with balloons

READ: Bigger than Banksy: Polish street art goes large

INTERACTIVE: Banksy takes over NYC

Editors' Note: This article has been edited to remove plagiarized content after CNN discovered multiple instances of plagiarism by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, a former CNN news editor.

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

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