Stevenage Art Society’s stolen mural found abandoned by 12-year-old schoolboy

Harvey Benson who returned the stolen mural is pictured with the mural, Barry Ephgrave, (Artist), Je

Harvey Benson who returned the stolen mural is pictured with the mural, Barry Ephgrave, (Artist), Jenny Desborough, (member of Stevenage Arts Society), Paula Southwood, (member of Stevenage Arts Society), Alec Craik, (member of Stevenage Arts Society) and Anne Laidler, (Vice chair Stevenage Arts Society) - Credit: Archant

A Stevenage schoolboy thought he’d found a piece of free art when he discovered a stolen mural near his house.

Harvey Benson who returned the stolen mural is pictured with the mural and Alec Craik, (member of St

Harvey Benson who returned the stolen mural is pictured with the mural and Alec Craik, (member of Stevenage Arts Society) - Credit: Archant

Harvey Benson, 12, had just watched a feature about Free Art Friday – where artists leave their works out for anyone who finds them to keep – on the BBC’s One Show when he came across the mural in Fishers Green.

Dad Dave, 39, said: “He came home and said he’d found this canvas on the green. We went back there together and I couldn’t believe it. I rang the police because I couldn’t see an artist just leaving it around.

“We were totally baffled by it. It was massive and we just did not know what to do with it.”

Barclay School pupil Harvey found the piece while out walking. It makes up half of a large art work inspired by the town’s history and painted more than 40 years ago. It had been placed outside Springfield House Community Centre in the High Street to mark the Stevenage Arts Society’s annual exhibition.


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When Dave discovered the front page Comet appeal in the wake of the theft of the mural two weeks ago – pictured right – he contacted the society with the good news.

Society member Alec Craik had worked on restoring the piece to its former glory and said: “It’s a big relief because a lot of work went into it over 40 years. We had just discovered it in the archive and the first time we use it, it gets stolen.

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“I can’t understand why people would carry it all that way unless they’d had a few too many drinks.”

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