Royal Mail has agreed to repaint a postbox gold in honour of Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie, after one Hampshire resident felt so strongly about living in the sailor's adoptive town he daubed the local mailbox in the colour.
Rob Smith illegally sprayed the postbox in Lymington, where Ainslie lives, after Royal Mail chose to honour the Olympic gold medallist in Cornwall, where Ainslie grew up.
The postal service described the vigilante painting as "vandalism" and 51-year-old Smith was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. The father-of-three was later released on bail while Ainslie described the rebellious painter as "the legend of Lymington."
One of the legal gold postboxes in Isleworth painted to celebrate Mo Farah's victory
As Olympic jubilation swept the country thousands posed next to the renegade postbox. Royal Mail have now decided to reverse their decision after contacting the gold medallist.
In a statement released on Thursday, they said: “After speaking with Ben, we have agreed to repaint the post box on Lymington High Street at his request, and are delighted to do so."
Ben Ainslie, the first person to win medals in sailing at five Olympic Games, and the second to win four gold medals
The gold box will be stripped of its "unofficial" gold paint, and repainted, the postal company stated. Despite the U-turn, it warned against similar unofficial acts of golden rebellion.
"We still highly recommend people leave the painting of post boxes to Royal Mail,” it added.
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