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

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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