Banksy T-shirt range leads to huge queues as items go on sale in just 6 shops

Artist Banksy has designed and launched a T-shirt range to raise funds for four people accused of criminal damage over the toppling of a statue in Bristol.

The defendants will go on trial on Monday after being accused of pulling down the statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 7 last year.

The anonymous artist announced on Instagram he created a limited edition grey souvenir T-shirt to mark the occasion.

The T-shirts, which went on sale in Bristol today, have a picture of Colston’s empty plinth with a rope hanging off, with debris and a discarded sign nearby and BRISTOL written above.

Banksy said in the social media post that proceeds from the sale will be given to the four people facing trial next week in the city accused of criminal damage, “so they can go for a pint”.

The Bristol-based artist said sales would be limited to one per person and each T-shirt would cost £25 plus VAT.

Banksy wrote in the caption: “Next week the four people charged with pulling down Colston’s statue in Bristol are going on trial. I’ve made some souvenir shirts to mark the occasion.

“Available today 11th December from various outlets in the city (all proceeds to the defendants so they can go for a pint).”

Rhian Graham, 29, Milo Ponsford, 25, Jake Skuse, 36, and Sage Willoughby, 21, face trial at Bristol Crown Court from Monday.

The bronze memorial to the slave merchant was pulled down during a protest in June last year, before being dumped in Bristol Harbour and later recovered by Bristol City Council.

Charges allege that the four defendants, without lawful excuse, jointly and with others, damaged the statue, a listed monument belonging to the city council.

The defendants are accused of committing the offence “intending to destroy or damage such property or being reckless as to whether such property would be destroyed or damaged”.

Further details on the sale of T-shirts created by Banksy were announced this morning at 9am on the Ujima Radio breakfast show, a local station.

They will be sold in the following locations:

Frontline Video in St Paul’s
Hakuna Matata on Stapleton Road in Easton
That Thing on Stokes Croft
Friendly Records in Bedminster
Rough Trade Records
Bristol Live reports that people have been queuing this morning to get hold of the T-shirts.

A seller on Ebay already posted the T-shirt on the website with a price of £9,000.

Today, there will also be a protest organised by campaigners in support of the four defendants.

They are also planning to hold a peaceful rally outside Bristol Crown Court on the first day of the trial of the four people accused of criminal damage.

The trial is expected to last up to eight days.