An artwork attributed to the street artist Banksy was mistakenly painted over by volunteers cleaning up graffiti, it emerged today.
The political piece, said to be worth £5,000, was painted on a wall two years ago and shows an image of Paddington Bear captioned "Migration is not a crime".
But well-meaning volunteers covered over the precious image as part of the town council's drive to rid the area of graffiti, the authority admitted.
Graffiti art by Banksy, who began his career in Bristol, now fetches hundreds of thousands of pounds, attracting the eye of celebrities like Brad Pitt.
A new record price was set in April 2007 when Space Girl and Bird fetched £288,000. His pieces often have anti-capitalist and pro-freedom messages.