A councillor has written to the Arts Council calling for help to bring the Turnpike Lane Banksy back to Haringey.

Haringey borough councillor Alan Strickland, who has been investigating the removal of the mural, painted on the side of Poundland in Whymark Avenue, wrote to the agency yesterday.

The cabinet member for economic development and culture is calling on the Arts Council to explore the legality behind the artwork’s removal and use any powers it may have to prevent it from being sold at auction.

In the letter he said: “People all over the world are rightly disgusted that a gift to the community could be privately sold off for a huge profit in this way.”

The image, a stencil of a child making Union Jack bunting, appeared overnight in May last year and was seen to be condemning child labour and mocking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Olympic celebrations.

Councillor Strickland said: “The Banksy created a huge amount of excitement when it first appeared and residents are understandably shocked and angry that it has been removed for private sale.

“The community feels this art work was given to it for free and it should be kept in Haringey where it belongs, not sold for a fast buck.

“This is an area that was rocked by riots less than a year before this mural was painted. For many in the community the painting has become a real symbol of local pride.

“We believe the strong local and national significance of the mural means it is wrong to export it.

“We’re determined to do what we can to bring back Banksy to Haringey.”

The work has been put on US Fine Art Auctions Miami website with a starting price of $400,000, equivalent to more than £250,000.

The council has started an online campaign on Facebook called Bring back Banksy and is urging people to email the auction house in the US to suspend the sale of the artwork.