NOTORIOUS graffiti artist Banksy decided to paint one of his iconic images on a Clacton wall – only for it be destroyed because it was deemed racist.

The work depicts a group of pigeons holding anti-immigration placards saying “Go back to Africa”, “Migrants Go Home” and “Keep off our worms”, while an African swallow looks on.

It is a reference to next week’s by-election, where former Tory Douglas Carswell remains favourite to win the seat for the UK Independence Party.

Banksy’s works typically sell for tens of thousands of pounds – and attract visitors from across the world.

It was painted on a boathouse owned by Tendring Council at West Beach.

Nigel Brown, Tendring Council’s communications manager, said the council had received a complaint on Tuesday that “offensive and racist” remarks had been painted on one of its seafront buildings.

He said: “The site was inspected by staff who agreed it could be seen as offensive and it was removed on Wednesday morning in line with our policy to remove this type of material within the space of 48 hours.

“We would obviously welcome an appropriate Banksy original on any of our seafronts and would be delighted if he returned in the future.”

Banksy fan Ray Dowsett, who runs the Tom Peppers pub and Liquor Lounge nightclub on Clacton seafront, said the council has unwittingly missed a trick.

He said the work could have been a massive boost for tourism.

He added: “It’s a pretty poor show from the council to scrub off a Bansky artwork.

“I’d like to think council staff removing graffiti would know who Banksy is.

“If he had done that on the side of my buildings I would have been impressed.

“I bought some original Bansky works for £100 five years ago and I’ve just sold them to a gallery in London for £9,500 each.

“I don’t mean to criticise the council, but it wasn’t a very smart thing to do.”

Judith Merritt, head of learning at art gallery Firstsite, in Colchester, added: “Banksy is an internationally renowned artist who is known for political comments in his work.

“All contemporary artists are trying to push boundaries. It is often part of their practice.

“We understand the council’s position and decision to remove the work.

“It is not unique – it has happened in Cheltenham and Bristol.

“Banksy himself has said in these positions people should do what that they think is right for the work.”

Earlier this week, security guards were called in to protect a Banksy work discovered on the wall of an amusement arcade in Folkestone, Kent.

The move came after a number of Banksy works were removed by third parties and sold at auction.

A famous work, called Girl with Red Balloon, was removed from a wall in Shoreditch, East London, and sold for £500,000 and another, which was called Kissing Coppers, sold for £350,000.

His latest artwork, painted on a wall outside a cash-strapped youth club in Bristol, was sold to a private collector for £403,000.

It showed a couple embracing while checking their mobile phones, and appeared on a doorway next to the club in April. The money helped save it.