25 Feb 2013

Graffiti auction halted

11:34 am on 25 February 2013

A work by the graffiti artist Banksy has been withdrawn from sale by auction in the United States at the last minute.

The Slave Labour mural shows a boy hunched over a sewing machine making Union Jack bunting. It appeared on a wall in north London last May, just before the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

But it disappeared from the side of a store last weekend and was due to be auctioned in Miami, Florida, on Saturday.

Haringey Council in London, which had been campaigning to have the mural returned, has been told the sale was stopped at the last minute, with no explanation given.

A starting bid of $US400,000 (£262,450) was made before the auction was halted.

Fine Art Auctions Miami confirmed to the BBC that the Banksy mural had been withdrawn from sale. However, no reason was given for its withdrawal.