Headstones, crosses and a memorial to a First World War hero have been ripped up and kicked down in Redan Road cemetery three times in recent weeks.

It is not the first time the Victorian site has been targeted — there were similar incidents in the 1990s when children’s graves were attacked.

In response security has been stepped up — but employees say manning the site has been a nightmare.

John Lamport, Rushmoor’s crematorium and cemeteries manager, said it was “unbelievable” how anyone could show such blatant disregard for the dead and the town’s history.

He added: “I feel very sad for the perpetrators. One day they are going to lose someone close. I hope they realise what they have done. Under the ground are people who have been loved and cared for.”

Mr Lamport said he had lost count of the number of stones which had been vandalised but was determined to repair the damage.

In all three incidents the vandals struck late on weekend nights.

They are believed to have entered the cemetery by climbing over gates and cutting wires in fences, before desecrating whatever lay in their path.

The majority of the tombs to suffer were vulnerable ones which are nearly 100 years old.

Mr Lamport also said that a temporary cross used to mark a grave was found dumped in the High Street.

“It’s wooden and has got ‘Bubs’ inscribed on it,” he said.

“Whoever it was has just thrown it in the street. I would like to return it to its original spot but I am not sure where it goes.”

He appealed to anyone with information to contact him at Aldershot Crematorium.

The repair work is expected to cost as much as £10,000. Many of the stones are so heavy three men are needed to lift them and some will require specialist equipment.

Cllr David Clifford said he wanted to see the culprits brought to justice.

“It’s disgusting to think that a young soldier went to war and gave his life and that now his grave has been vandalised by kids who nowadays have everything.

“It’s ironic — a hero’s grave has been desecrated by modern cowards.”

Cllr Clifford added that the vandalism was a costly business which was destroying the county’s public amenities.

Insp Sharon Petherbridge of Aldershot police said the matter was being taken very seriously: “This type of crime causes the families of those concerned a lot of distress and unnecessary suffering.”

She appealed to anyone with information to contact her on 0845 0454545 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.