Published: 09:00, 03 November 2014
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins is leading the calls for Folkestone's Banksy to be returned to the town after it was ripped out.
Angry crowds swarmed to the Payers Park area in protest on Saturday night over it being taken away to be sold by a London art dealer.
Workmen are this morning removing the final part of the piece before it is taken away to be stored.
Mr Collins has written to the Godden family - who own the amusement arcade wall it was put on in September - to appeal for the piece to remain in Folkestone and stop it from being sold at auction.
Today, he said he had spoken to Jeremy Godden, who said it has not been sold yet and that the family is open to offers.
Robin Barton, a dealer from the Bankrobber gallery in London, is overseeing its removal despite efforts to rip down the scaffolding and sheets covering it while the excavation first took place on Saturday.
Mr Collins was joined by Janice Atkinson just hours after she was selected to be the Ukip candidate in Folkestone and Hythe for the General Election next May by the party's constituency branch on Saturday afternoon.
Dozens of people descended on the artwork and there has been a tirade of activity on social media throughout the weekend expressing disgust over its removal.
Mr Collins said: "I was very disturbed to hear that yesterday the Banksy artwork on the wall of Palace Amusements in Folkestone was removed at the request of the Godden family who own the building.
"It is their intention that the artwork should be sold at private auction.
"The Godden family have raised concerns about the maintenance of the Banksy mural, and state that this is the reason why it has been removed.
"It would have been much better if they had discussed this with people in the town before acting as they have.
"I have written today to Jeremy Godden asking if we can meet to discuss an alternative solution that would allow the Banksy artwork to remain on public display in Folkestone, either at the same or a different location."
A spokesman for Shepway District Council - which moved to protect the artwork with a perspex sheet moments after Banksy confirmed it was genuine - said it was "disappointed" that it has been removed by the owners "who are no longer able to maintain it".
Mr Barton said that Rochelle Godden, the wife of the late Jimmy Godden, would give the proceeds of the sale to the cancer charity set up in memory of her husband.
He added: "It's being sold because the Goddens are heartily fed up with keeping it safe. And they've decided they want rid of it.
"Being magnanimous, they don't really care [about what the people of Folkestone think]," he told Academy FM, adding: "Rochelle Godden's husband, Jimmy Godden, died of cancer a few years ago and she's going to put any funds from it to her cancer trust."
Despite the protests, police confirmed no arrests were made and that officers were there to "keep the peace".
Mrs Atkinson said a preservation order should be placed on the piece.
She said: "I'm firmly on the side of locals protesting against the vandalism that would be the removal of the mural which Bansky has gifted to Folkestone.
"Already this piece of art has been everything public art should be - freely available to view and so striking it's the talk of the town. It was created in Folkestone, on a wall in Folkestone, and should remain part of Folkestone for the future.
"I'm backing local demands for the proposed removal to be stopped and a preservation order imposed to keep the Folkestone Banksy where it belongs."
Alastair Upton, the chief executive of the Creative Foundation, which runs the Folkestone Triennial that ended today, backed the idea to try to get it back.
He said: "The town loved it and the people loved it. I understand maintaining it can cause a bit of difficulty and it's tricky. We look after 40 public works and I know it's not easy to look after them.
"The family doesn't want any money from it and someone else said why don't they give it back to the town and I think that's a good idea. People want it.
"If it's not about the money why can't it stay here? In the Creative Quarter, or the library or another public building? It's sort of the point."
Stories you might have missed