An appeal for witnesses has been issued after a war memorial in Stroud was vandalised.

Vandals have caused serious damage to the Cenotaph Park Gardens, Slad Road.

The Town Council's green spaces team discovered the damage on Monday morning.

It is believed a chisel or other heavy instrument was used to gouge out the engraving “And all subsequent campaigns” at the bottom of the monument.

The incident has now been reported to the police.

“This appears to be a targeted attack and would have taken some time to perpetrate it. We would appeal for anyone who heard or saw something suspicious to contact the police,” said Stroud Town Mayor Kevin Cranston.

“This will cause great offence to people in Stroud who have lost loved ones in conflicts. This monument does not celebrate war. It is a memorial to people who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy today.”

The land for Park Gardens was donated by Councillor Sidney Park as a memorial to his only son Herbert and all those who fell in the First World War. Herbert was killed in France on 26 October 1917 in a training accident. He was 23.

In a joint statement, the administration group leaders of Stroud District Council, Councillors Doina Cornell, Martin Whiteside and Ken Tucker said: “We would appeal to anyone who knows anything about this appalling act to tell police or Crimestoppers immediately. We are taking steps to repair the damage and reinstate the wording, as soon as possible. We are also considering improving security measures in this area.”

The memorial, which is Grade II listed, was erected in 1935 and unveiled by the widow of a local soldier, assisted by two holders of the Victoria Cross.

It is now dedicated to those who fell in the First and Second World Wars, and commemorated the fallen of later conflicts including Northern Ireland. In October 2015 the dedication was adjusted to mark the dead of all conflicts subsequent to the First World War, regardless of location.

The memorial is the responsibility of Stroud District Council, while Stroud Town Council is responsible for the gardens. Witnesses are asked to contact the police by phoning 101 quoting incident 525 of June 17.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.