YOBS who have wrecked gravestones at the Grade II listed Down Cemetery in Trowbridge have been condemned as “mindless vandals”.

Robert Wall, chairman of The Friends of the Down Cemetery, said it was possible some of the gravestones at the historic cemetery would never be repaired or replaced following the damage.

He said: “They have pushed over about five or six and have smashed some cylindrical posts in front of one of the chapels.

“Some of them are Victorian and are very heavy so it won’t be easy to put them back into place.

“One headstone has been pushed over and, in doing so, the people responsible have also damaged one of the kerbstones as well.

“It’s just mindless vandalism and for what point? It has not achieved anything. They do it just because they can.

“Some of the gravestones may never be repaired or replaced because of the cost and the difficulty in finding living relatives to look after them.

“They are all of different shapes and sizes and some of them are huge.”

Around half a dozen headstones and some kerbstones were damaged before Thursday, November 1 by vandals who frequent the cemetery in the evenings.

Groups of people are known to go into the gated cemetery late in the evening to drink alcohol as empty beer cans have been found.

The damage occurred after Wiltshire Council officers had been in the cemetery testing the stability of some of the gravestones three weeks earlier.

The 30 or so they found to be unstable were marked with an orange sticker, which seems to have highlighted their condition to those who committed the damage.

The six-acre cemetery is the main burial ground for Trowbridge and is the last resting place for some 19,000 people who once lived in the town.

Mr Wall says the 50-strong Friends of The Down Cemetery group was formed about two years ago to help Wiltshire Council to tidy and maintain the graves.

But there are not enough of them to patrol the cemetery and Mr Wall admits the vandalism is difficult to stop.

Trowbridge mayor, Cllr Dennis Drewett, who is a volunteer with the group, said: “I went down there on Saturday to do some work, and saw the mess.

“It’s just typical mindless idiocy.

“The fact that they have been tested recently and some of them have stickers on seems to have highlighted them as being breakable to these idiots.

“The volunteers go down there to help keep the cemetery tidy and then find this mess.

“It’s all for no reason.”