AROUND 15 gravestones have been knocked over and damaged by vandals at the cemetery on Bisley Road in Stroud.
The damage was caused by unknown offenders at some point this week.
The 15 damaged stones are in the old cemetery, which is now a nature reserve and is rarely used for burials.
Many stones in the cemetery date back to the Victorian period when the Chapel of Rest was built.
Stroud Town Council has condemned the vandalism.
“Such desecration of a cemetery is an insult to those who are buried there and a huge disappointment to the Town Council which owns the site and is responsible for its care,” said Town Clerk Helen Bojaniwska.
“We are currently assessing the damage and, at the moment, have no idea of how we will secure funding to repair the memorials. These are historic graves and it will prove challenging to trace living relatives.”
A man who spotted the damage while walking his dog said: “I’m not particularly religious, but I’m annoyed because it’s just so mindless.
“And also the fact that there were a number of decorative headstones that were trashed and they’re not going to be repaired.”
He added: “For the people responsible for the maintenance of the graveyard, who cut back weeds and prune the trees, and who are doing a fantastic job by the way, it must be heart breaking.
“You see something like this and it undermines people’s positivity, and that’s the last thing we need right now.”
Now police are urging people to come forward with information.
The scene at the graveyard:
A force spokeswoman said: “Police have received a report of criminal damage being caused at the Cemetery on Bisley Road in Stroud.
“It was reported that approximately 15 headstones had been damaged by unknown offenders at some point this week.
“Enquiries are currently taking place and anyone with information is asked to complete the following form quoting incident 83 of 30 April: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/cor/tell-us-about-existing-case-report/
“Information can also be submitted by calling 101 with the same incident number.”