Pair of conmen who faked Banksy artwork sentenced

Suspicions about some of the prints being sold were raised on the internet

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A pair of conmen who admitted selling fake prints they claimed were the work of graffiti artist Banksy have avoided a jail sentence.

Lee Parker, 45, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, and Grant Champkins-Howard, 44, from Croydon, south London, faced charges of conspiracy to defraud.

Kingston Crown Court heard the men sold copies of genuine numbered prints on the internet shopping site eBay.

Judge Suzan Matthews handed the pair 12-month suspended sentences.

She said: "Neither of you should be under any illusion that I regard both of you as nothing more than a pair of old-fashioned conmen.

"You saw a way, and exploited a way, of making a quick and easy profit."

Art by the guerrilla artist Banksy regularly sells for hundreds of thousands of pounds.

In 2006 a set of Kate Moss prints, painted in the style of Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe pictures, sold for £57,600 at a Sotheby's auction.

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