COUNTY Hall bosses sold off a painting owned by a pensioner for £24,000 to help pay for his care home fees.

It has been revealed Essex County Council auctioned off the 1906 artwork by Lucien Pissarro called Straftford-upon-Avon Sunset following a Court of Protection hearing last year.

At the court which analysis issues involving the sick and vulnerable, Distrtic Judge Anselm Eldergill gave permission to the Chelmsford-based authority to sell the painting.

He was told the work by the Frenchman was valued at between £20,000 and £30,000.

It was also heard care home fees for the man who had undergone surgery were nearly £400 a month facing him with an annual shortfall of just under £15,000.

Judge Eldergill heard evidence from relatives and local authority officials before deciding how to raise money.

The council was appointed to make decisions for the pensioner after the judge decided he “lacked capacity”.

Along with the painting the council were aldo given permission to sell his house and other possessions.

Normally these hearings are held in private.

But the same judge has lifted reporting restrictions now after it was argued the case was in the public’s interest to hear.

Despite deciding to name the authority, Judge Eldergill went onto praise the council as they had provided a “high level of service” to the resident.

However he stipulated while the county council could be named, the identity of the artwork owner could not be revealed.