A town councillor has resigned after claims that he is Banksy made his role “untenable”.
William Gannon, 58, was voted onto Pembroke Dock town council in the May elections in Pembrokeshire, south Wales, having worked as a community artist for 40 years.
But his success was dogged by rumours that he is the man behind the Banksy persona, the anonymous graffiti artist whose works frequently pop up around southern England and go on to sell for millions of pounds.
The claims, which Mr Gannon thinks were maliciously started by a rival council candidate, began to emerge in January and intensified following his election for the coastal town’s Bufferland ward.
“There’s no truth in it whatsoever, I am not Banksy,” Mr Gannon, known as Bill, told The Telegraph.
“I was in much the same places as Banksy at much the same times doing much the same stuff as a community artist and a lot of the information crosses over.
“It’s so ridiculous that it’s laugh-out-loud funny, but there’s also a sinister element to it. The joke is on me.”
He said the situation escalated when vandals “went wild” in the town of Pembroke, three miles away, by dousing parks, benches and doors with graffiti, leading him to fear he may be deemed responsible.
In his resignation letter, he said: “It was felt that, to protect the reputation of the town, Pembroke Dock did not need another controversial councillor dragging the reputation of the town through the mud.
“As a result of all this, my position became untenable and after some consideration I sent my resignation notice to the town clerk.”
While Pembroke Dock has never enjoyed a Banksy work of its own, one did appear on a garage in Port Talbot, about 70 miles away, in 2018 before it was removed earlier this year.
Other residents in the town alleged Mr Gannon’s real name was Robin Gunningham, who has previously been rumoured to be Banksy.
But other locals have rallied around him. He has bought dozens of badges which state “I am not Banksy”, while neighbours are creating mugs and T-shirts for him. “If I’m Banksy, then everybody is,” he said.