Valentine's Day Banksy artwork ruined by vandals

Vandals have ruined a Valentine's Day-inspired Banksy painting by covering it in spray paint (Picture: SWNS)

Banksy’s Valentine's Day-inspired artwork has been ruined by vandals.

Explicit graffiti spelling out 'w****r' has been sprayed in huge red letters across the street artwork in Barton Hill, Bristol.

The painting was confirmed by Banksy himself as being genuine after being discovered by residents on Thursday.

But the piece - showing a young girl firing a slingshot of flowers - was defaced overnight.

Someone had initially torn down a protective screen protecting the artwork on Friday.

Read more: Banksy: The greatest artworks from the mysterious graffiti artist

A woman walks past a new artwork on the side of a house in Bristol (Picture: AP)

The Banksy piece appeared on the side of a home being rented by Edwin Simons, 67.

His daughter, Kelly Woodruff, 37, found out about it after being tagged in a Facebook post.

She said on Thursday: “We’ve been down here all day and it’s just been a complete buzz of excitement.

“There’s so many people coming and enjoying it, taking pictures, it’s fantastic.

“There’s been a lot of debate if it is a Banksy or not. Most people I’ve spoken to think it 100% is, and they’re naming it the Valentine’s Banksy.

“It’s incredible and beautiful.”

Read more: Banksy reopening falls flat in Port Talbot

A new Banksy artwork on the side of a house in Bristol (Picture: AP)

News of the Banksy first emerged on Twitter, with Bristol Somali Community Association writing: “Today in Barton Hill, we woke up with this remarkable mural art painted on one of the houses of the area.

“We hope it’s Banksy’s work. Come and have a look yourself. Whoever painted, it’s worth admiring their creativity. Thank you.”

One local resident, James Bullock, saw scaffolding on the wall at about 6.20am on Thursday.

He walked past it later with his girlfriend and was stunned to see the artwork had appeared.