PEOPLE from Brighton want their Banksy back after a man tried to sell a piece taken from a wall in the city on Antiques Roadshow.

The image of a cartoon rat holding a pneumatic drill underneath the street artist's tag was valued at more than £20,000, but it could not be authenticated as it had been “removed from the public domain”.

Appearing on the popular BBC show, the man said: “I used to live in Brighton in the late 90s, early 2000s, and I was walking along Brighton seafront and I saw it on the lido (sic).

“It looked loose. I went over, pulled it off basically.

“(I gave it) a little bit of a tug.”

It is believed the piece was taken from the Black Rock or Saltdean Lido area.

The man said he knew it was painted in about 2004 and was keen to see how much it was worth.

But one of the show’s antiques experts, Rupert Maas, was quick to dash all hopes the man had of making a quick sale.

He said: “The thing about Banksy, and he’s not the first to have done this of course, is that he manages his brand very, very carefully indeed.

The Argus:

“There’s a website where you can go in and you can apply for a certificate of authenticity of his work.

“Then he, or his team, will issue one if they think that, first of all, it’s authentic, and B, that it’s not been removed from the public domain for which it was painted, and into the private.”

He said that the fact the man had pulled the Banksy from a wall in Brighton and kept hold of it “might be a reason not to issue a certificate of authenticity”.

Banksy has previously had a piece - his Devolved Parliament painting which shows the House of Commons filled with chimpanzees - sell for almost £10 million with fees.

And it is clear the world’s most famous street artist, through the process described by Mr Maas, is careful that his work is not plagiarised or misrepresented.

“He calls it pest control,” Mr Maas said, before asking if the man had tried to obtain one of the certificates of authenticity.

“I have, yes,” the man replied.

“They said they couldn’t claim it was an original Banksy.

“I know it’s real, because Brighton was hit quite a bit by Banksy when he was down there around that time.”

The Argus:

But Mr Maas had a clear message for anyone thinking of swiping street art away from the public place it had been intended to occupy.

He said: “I think the message here is that, if you do see a piece of graffiti art out there, leave it for the public.

“I’m not lecturing you. I’m just saying, without that certificate it’s just very difficult to sell.

“With it, it might be worth £20,000, without it, you’re nowhere.”

After the show was aired yesterday, Brighton residents took to Twitter to share their annoyance that the artwork had been taken away from the city.

One said: “This man liberated a Banksy off the wall in Black Rock. It’s worth £20,000. He took it on Antiques Roadshow but can’t get it authenticated as it's for a public place - how can we get it back for Brighton?”.

Others were quick to congratulate “karma” on a job well done.

Another commenter said: “(I’m) still laughing about the man who was on the Antiques Roadshow with a Banksy he’d liberated in Brighton, (only) to be told it was worthless because he’d done that.”