A NEW Banksy mural which was ruined by jobsworth council workers is now believed to have parts stolen from it before it could be preserved.
The artwork on the side of a building in Margate, Kent, originally showed a bruised 1950s housewife in an apron and washing-up gloves pushing a man into a freezer.
The scene was completed by a glass bottle, a broken chair and a frying pan – items now thought to have been stolen.
The mural, titled Valentine's Day Mascara, highlights the issue of violence against women.
The faceless artist confirmed it was his latest piece on Instagram.
But just 24 hours after the artwork was first spotted, council workers removed the freezer – leaving behind a blank space.
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Thanet Council later made a U-turn, putting the freezer back in place – after a bizarre interlude in which it was replaced by a wheelie bin.
In a still stranger twist, the freezer was removed again, hours after after the council put it back.
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London's Red Eight Gallery said the freezer was back in storage with permission from the homeowner, before a permanent home can be found for the entire work.
But it is now thought that the frying pan, chair and bottle were stolen from the mural before Red Eight could preserve it.
Julian Usher, the gallery's chief executive, said: "There were other items forming part of this art installation.
"We believe they included a frying pan with red paint on it, then a bottle and a chair.
"We have had contact from an unknown person offering the frying pan for sale and we will consider securing that.
"Regarding the chair and bottle, it is unlikely and probably on balance, deemed unnecessary.
"We had security on site by 10am having had the call just after 9am on Tuesday morning from the owner and by then they had gone.
"We have the freezer secured and in storage.
"It is a shame that a local was quick to remove an item, but it won't affect what the owner wishes to achieve."
The mural, which is on the side of a house, is set to be cut away from the building by structural engineers so it can eventually be moved to a permanent home.
Mr Usher previously confirmed the homeowner has instructed the gallery to handle the safe removal of the work described as "doable" but "complicated" as it requires cutting a 2×3 metre section out of the wall.
The landlord has asked for domestic abuse charities to benefit from any money raised in the process.
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Until a new home is found, the artwork has been covered by Perspex.
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