Massive Attack and Banksy emerged from the Bristol scene around the same time Getty

A new theory has emerged regarding the identity of Banksy which suggests the world famous graffiti artist is actually several people, including one of the members the British group Massive Attack.

Robert "3D" Del Naja, founding member of the Bristol-based band known for their songs Unfinished Sympathy and Teardrop, has been linked to the street artist by a Scottish writer who has noticed a pattern in where Banksy murals have turned up with worldwide tour locations of the band.

While the identity of Banksy is said to remain a mystery, it is widely believed to be Bristol public schoolboy Robin Gunningham, with the name being thrown around as far back as 2008 and said to have been confirmed by scientists at the Queen Margaret University.

However, investigative journalist Craig Williams, 31, has now listed several examples where Massive Attack have toured and Banksy's murals have popped up soon after, most notable across cities in North America.

Williams lists several examples of this coincidence occurring, including a Banksy exhibition opening in Los Angeles in 2006 days after Massive Attack performed a gig there and artwork appearing in Boston in the same month the band played there in 2010.

Banksy's month long residency in New York in October 2013 also coincided with Massive Attack's four night residency ending 4 October at the city's Park Avenue Armoury.

Williams also spotted a trend in Banksy's work appearing in locations Del Naja has been linked to without Massive Attack. These include helping to write the soundtrack to a documentary about Hurricane Katrina almost exactly the same time Banksy sketches appeared around New Orleans in 2008, as well murals appearing in the DR Congo village of Mali soon after Del Naja became involved with Damon's Albarn's Africa Express project in 2007, in which the pair were both known to have visited DR Congo together.

Writing for Glasgowtransmission, Williams said: "What if Banksy isn't the one person everyone thinks he is. What if – akin to the Shakespeare conspiracy theories – Banksy is a group of people who have been stencilling different locations both at home and abroad. Such a rich body of work done over a decade, across the globe, may allow for the suggestion."

Signage is displayed for the launch party for Banksy's 'Barely Legal' on September 14, 2006 in Los Angeles Getty

Before forming Massive Attack, Del Naja was a well-known street artist in Bristol in the late 80s and was thought to have pioneered the stencil graffiti scene. Massive Attack and Banksy have long had close links together, with Del Naja appearing on the 2010 documentary about Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop, as well the artist providing the foreword to the book 3D & the Art of Massive Attack which reads: "When I was about 10 years old, a kid called 3D was painting the streets hard. 3D quit painting and formed the band Massive Attack, which may have been a good thing for him, but was a big loss for the city."

Williams also notes that Massive Attack were scheduled to headline at Banksy's Dismaland theme part when it opened in 2015, but pulled out at the last minute due to "technical difficulties."

He concludes: "Perhaps the assertion then that Banksy is just one person is wide of the mark, instead being a group who have, over the years, followed Massive Attack around and painted walls at their leisure.

"And perhaps, at the head of such a group we have Del Naja. A multi-disciplined artist in front of one the seminal groups in recent British music history, doubling up as the planet's most revered street artist."

Banksy has become one of the most famous artists in the world Getty Images