Off with its head!

Royal postbox topper is stolen – but defiant knitters vow to keep on yarn bombing

Guerrilla knitters in Bristol who decorate street furniture with woolly creations say they won’t be put off by spoilsport thieves.

The crafters say they are the new Banksys – so stealing or defacing their work is no surprise, and they will carry on making them.

In the latest theft an ornate woolly post box topper in the shape of a crown was stolen from Henleaze Road on Coronation Day.

The Voice has discovered that the theft is just one of hundreds happening across the UK.  Some communities have even stopped decorating street furniture with toppers after repeated thefts.

But local knitting and crochet enthusiasts say the items are akin to a Banksy mural – and once they are put in public places, removal or damage is inevitable.

Wendy Florey who owns Pins and Needles in Canford Lane, Westbury-on-Trym, runs courses in knitting and crochet, and has seen a huge rise in the crafts since lockdown.

She told the Voice: “It’s a social art – like Banksy, a community thing.  Once you put it out in public, you no longer own it and cannot control what happened to it. If it is taken or damaged that does not matter, so long as a few people have seen the art you created.

She said displays of knitting and crochet to decorate public spaces were empowering for women.

“Traditionally graffiti is seen as a make thing, while these crafts are seen as more female works, so they are female expression.

She said her customers did a “yarn bomb” in the village with hundreds of knitted and crochet items on lamp posts, benches and public street furniture. Within weeks they had been removed, either by people taking them home, or council street cleaners.

“It is a reflection of society – years ago no-one would have touched them. Maybe if we keep putting more of our creations out there eventually the message will get through.”

The brightly coloured Henleaze Road crown was hand knitted by grandmother Anthea Page, and placed on a pillar box on Coronation Day, Saturday May 6.

She made the crown while recovering in Southmead Hospital from a hip operation.

“I just managed to get it finished in time for the Coronation,” she said.

“During the short time it was in place it became a sort of community fun project as people were taking selfies. It had jewels and sparkly things in it to make it attractive.”

It vanished that evening – some reports say a car pulled up and someone got out and drove off with it.

Anthea said: “I’ve heard it was captured on CCTV and the police now have the footage.”

“I’m glad it brightened up the street for while – it is just a shame someone spoiled that by taking it away.”

Anthea says she won’t be put off – and is planning a “save the bees” themed topper for the summer.