Following the recent mysterious removal and attempted sale of Banksy's street art, a new black market has quickly emerged for the wall plaster behind other valuable artwork.
Earlier this week, a London art gallery was broken into and the plaster behind eight valuable paintings was stolen.
The police commented, "these well preserved sections of plaster can command high prices on the black market and of course are much harder to trace than stolen paintings".
The police have arrested one of the criminal gang who was found unconscious at the scene after he had apparently cut through the wiring to the wall socket beneath the painting - the same socket that he had plugged his power chisel into.
The apprehended plaster thief, Dave Phillips, who openly admits his guilt, explained "the real money is in the walls with paintings on both sides. We can cut a hole straight through and sell it for twice the price. You just have to take the risk that the wall could have electrics in it or be load-bearing."
After the robbery, the gallery owner commented "one of the larger slabs of plaster appears to have broken during the robbery and was left behind by the thieves. The gallery's restorers are currently working to piece it together and return it to its former glory."
However, art lovers have wider concerns. They fear that the street plaster behind Banksy's art is at greater risk due to it being easier to steal. Arrested thief, Dave Phillips, suggests this may not be a concern "we don't target the Banksy stuff. It might be a bit easier to steal, but we then have to spend ages trying to scrub off the crappy graffiti before we can sell the beautiful plasterwork that's underneath."