HAS Canvey acquired it’s own estuary Banksy?

It would appear so!

This spray paint design has appeared on a unit housing electrical cables on the High Street, opposite the Corner Club.

It reads: “Where is the love?” in red paint along with a heart symbol, and at the bottom, a black and white rat carrying a red paintbrush.

Some residents even believe the stencil art of the rat has been drawn by the real thing, the anonymous street artist, who has been an active designer, activist and film director since the 1990s.

Paul Tomkinson, 59, who lives on the high street, thinks so. He said: “People started clocking it late last week, the words appeared first and then the rat about a day later.

“It could well be Banksy original, or another artist attempting to copy him, as I don’t think he’s put it on his site, but it would be great to think that it was!

“He’s a national icon and to think that he has been to our island would be something quite special.”

Banksy’s name and identity remain unconfirmed and the subject of widespread speculation.

However, it is understood he started out as an artist at the age of 14 and was expelled from school.

The artist is known for listing his work on his official website to authenticate the drawings he does around the country.

At the time of print, the illustration on Canvey High Street has not appeared on the site.

Earlier this year, Essex art dealer John Brander, 63, purchased Banksy’s Season’s Greetings stencil from Ian Lewis after it appeared on the side of his garage. The stencil drawing showed a child dressed for snow playing in the falling ash and smoke from a skip fire, and now remains in Port Talbot where it will join other Banksy pieces on display.

Brandler, from Brentwood, had promised to keep the artwork on display for locals following his purchase of the piece for a “six-figure sum” from Mr Lewis.

However, other residents have cast doubt on the Canvey piece being authentic...

Charles Watson, 44, said: “Banksy is usually quite quick to authenticate his work, and it hasn’t appeared anywhere else. Chances are someone has had a go at replicating him.

“There’s some over spray next to the rat where the stencil was clearly placed. Banksy wouldn’t normally look past that.

“It’s genuinely quite a nice piece otherwise, but nothing to get excited over.”

Barry Rust wrote on Facebook: “It’s probably the people that own the electric box as they’d wanna cash in on Banksy artwork as it’s worth loads.

“It’s never about love or art, it’s always about the money.”