A Banksy fan attempted to destroy a £500,000 piece of artwork by the secretive street artist to stop it being bought by a collector in England.

Michael Thomas, 42 years old, attempted to smash into the temporary structure housing the iconic artwork in Port Talbort (South Wales), in order to spray white paint on it.

This artwork depicts a child enjoying the smoke and ash from a skip fire. It first appeared in 2018 on the walls of two garages in Taibach.

However a year later it was sold to John Brandler, who owns Brandler Galleries in Essex, for a ‘six-figure sum’ and moved to a new location in Ty’r Orsaf, where people could view it through the glass.

The mural could remain in Port Talbot at least two years, Mr Brandler said. 

It is understood that the artwork was set to be moved to England or even the US but Thomas expressed anger at having the art sold, and said that it would be removed from the site.  

The Banksy artwork shows a child playing in the falling ash and first appeared on two walls of a garage in the Taibach area in 2018

Banksy art depicts a child playing with the falling Ash. This artwork first surfaced on two walls of an Taibach garage in 2018, in which it was replaced by another.

Thomas, who admitted to attempted burglary and criminal damages, was sentenced to a 14 month term in jail that will be suspended for two year. 

Sian Cotter was the prosecutor. He stated that witnesses had heard him say, “It is the only thing in Port Talbot. And they are taking it.”

The painting was destroyed by Thomas so it could not be owned by anyone else.

A couple shouted at the defendant, “It’s for me!” They are taking it away. Some rich man already has it.

“Another witness heard Thomas shouting, “I’m going kill it!”

Thomas attempted to enter the house housing the art when he was heard by neighbours breaking windows at 5.30am. They called police.    

Swansea Crown Court was informed that the picture of a boy playing in snowfall next to a sledge was worth half-a million pounds.

Port Talbot Council put the artwork into a temporary structure after it was found on the sideline of a garage in 2018. 

Ms. Cotter explained that Thomas called police to claim he was angry at having caused damage to the painting and wanted it to stay in Port Talbot.

“He stated that the work was moving to England. That angered him, so he chose to destroy it.

Thomas tried to break a window to the building housing the famous when neighbours called the police. Pictured: Some of the damage caused to the front of the building

Thomas broke a window of the building that housed the celebrity when his neighbours called police. Pictured: The damage done to the facade of the building

The artwork was sold to John Brandler, who owns Brandler Galleries in Essex, for a 'six-figure sum' in 2019

John Brandler purchased the art for $66,000 in 2019. He is also the owner of Brandler Galleries in Essex.

Jonathan Tarrant, who was defending the case, claimed it was more of an act of protest rather than criminal intent. It was highly unlikely that Thomas will reoffend.   

Thomas was informed by Judge Geraint Wals: “There was an intention for the Banksy artwork to be moved out of Port Talbot and to the London region. That angered me.”

“It could be that Banksy didn’t intend for the painting to ever leave Port Talbot.”

“I’m aware that the removal of the work caused some consternation.”

Thomas, the judge stated that he reacted strangely to breaking into the Banksy building in the hope of taking down the artwork.

He said, “This work now belongs to someone who had to pay it.”

“The reality commercially is that this is an artifact of high value, and it is now in private hands.” 

Thomas, of Port Talbot, was ordered to pay £1,058 compensation and was given an electronic tag for 12 weeks.  

Ian Lewis, 55 years old, a steelworker said that 2018 was the year of Christmas after the work appeared in his garage. 

Brandler, the new owner of the piece, stated that he had several Banksy items and recommended putting “five to six” more Banksy works in public display in Cardiff for tourism. 

According to the art dealer, he gave a written guarantee that the artwork would remain in Port Talbot for a minimum period of 2-3 years. He also stated: “If it works, it could stay longer. It will be removed to another industrial location if it does not work.