RESIDENTS have been left upset after a tree stump with a "Basildon Banksy" carving was removed.

The sculpture which shows the face of a mystical bearded man was created next to a footpath on the corner of The Knares and Staneway, in Basildon, in a small tree stump.

It appeared on Christmas morning last year and was welcomed by local residents and councillors.

However, the tree has now been cut down after it was deemed to be "unsafe" by the council.

Many residents have expressed their upset at the stump being removed on social media.

Emma Chapman said: "I loved seeing it every time we drove past.

"My partner, son and I would always say 'tree' every time we went past.

"Gutted I didn't take a pic of it painted though."

Elaine Christian added: "Really sad this was destroyed

"Hopefully the man who did the picture will do another in our area."

Susan Deakins said: "Loved seeing it as you turned into The Knares.

"Such a shame."

Sue Elms added: "I can't believe this.

"I live right near it and loved it.

"Very angry."

Independent Nethermayne councillor Stephen Hodge was also shocked to see the tree had been cut down.

He told the Echo: "A local piece of art has been cut down by council contractors as it was deemed as being unsafe.

"The tree Stump in Lee Chapel South had become something of a landmark when a Banksy-style carving was styled into it with a chainsaw a year ago.

"It has had two makeovers since by the unknown artist.

"Myself and other residents are really upset about what has happened.

"The tree stump posed no threat and was very popular with local resident.

"It's a shame to see it has been removed.

"I am trying to find out who decided it should come down."

It is still unclear who was the artist behind the carving.

It was first left as a natural wood carving, but has been since painted in vibrant colours and has become a firm favourite with residents.