A telephone box near GCHQ gets a visit from Banksy

Well, maybe it’s not literally on GCHQ’s doorstep…

But Cheltenham, the home of the UK government’s listening post and communications surveillance headquarters, has had a night-time visit from what appears to be the famous street artist Banksy.

Wall mural in Cheltenham

The mural was spotted over the weekend, having been painted on the side of a house on the corner of Fairview Road and Hewlett Road under the cover of the night, according to a report in the Gloucestershire Echo.

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The art – which frames a public telephone box – shows three stereotypical spies, wearing trenchcoats and trilby hats, carrying old-fashioned listening devices.

Karen Smith, who lives in the property, opposite the Fairview pub said she heard noises through the night but thought nothing of it, as Fairview is a busy area.

The mum of five, 48, said she got up at around 7.30am on Sunday morning to find a van parked at the side and some men packing away this white tarpaulin.

“They were taking it down and putting it into the back of the van. I thought it might be something to do with the police, like when a crime happens. I saw these people looking and then saw the graffiti.”

No doubt plenty of people will be stopping by that telephone box now to make a phone call and (more likely) to get their photograph taken.

Image credit: rowhills on Instagram

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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