London transport workers have painted over one of British graffiti artist Banksy's most iconic works, estimated to beworth about $675,000 Cdn.
The mural, a scene from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction in which Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta are clutching bananas instead of guns, has occupied the side of an electricity substation in Central London for nearly five years.
The work was one of the most famous by the reclusive U.K. artist and prints of the piece are reported to have fetched upwards of $1,300 Cdn.
Transport for London issued a statement on Fridaysaying it needed to take ahard line on graffiti in order to combat an "atmosphere of neglect and social decay."
Officials acknowledged those who felt Banksy's work was a legitimate piece of art but said its teams are staffed by professional cleaners and not art critics.
"We have no intention of changing [our] policy as it makes the transport system safer and more pleasant for passengers," the statement said.
After the work was whitewashed, another graffiti artist in the area marked the wall with the words "Come back."
Tourists and fans often visited the area, located near the Old Street Tube station, especially to see the spray-painted image and snap photos ofit, locals told British media.
Earlier this month, another Banksy piece was mistakenly painted over by Bristol council's graffiti-removal contractors. Two of his smaller works were also painted over in February.
Growing reputation, but still hides identity
The reclusive British artist continues to hide his identity despite his growing reputation in the art world. His works, which are often satirical, explore themes such as culture, ethics and politics.
Banksymade headlines around the world for projects such as leaving 500 doctored copies of Paris Hilton's debut album in U.K. record shops, erecting a life-sized figure of a Guantanamo Bay detainee in Disneyland and scattering subversive stencilled images around the U.K.
The cult artist, who has also posted his artwork in major galleries in New York, Paris and London, counts Angelina Jolie, Jude Law and Christina Aguilera among his fans.
In February, his work Bombing of Middle England sold for nearly $240,000 Cdn, setting a new record high price paid for a work by a graffiti artist.
In March, thieves made off with an entire Banksy mural in East London.