A village war memorial has been destroyed by vandals who smashed the stone structure to pieces.
Gloucestershire Police said the Cotswold stone memorial was destroyed late last night in Prestbury, on the outskirts of Cheltenham, shortly after a dog walker saw a woman and two men taking pictures of the memorial to the parish's war dead.
Sergeant Mark Stephens said: "At this stage it is unclear how the memorial was damaged. However, this will have a significant impact on not only the residents of Prestbury but also the wider Cheltenham community.
"It is particularly poignant as we are so close to Remembrance Sunday when a great many people attend the Prestbury service held at the memorial to honour those who have fallen in service of our country."
Police said they were alerted by the dog walker who went past and noticed people by the memorial at around 11.25pm yesterday.
On his return journey a short time later, he found the Cotswold stone memorial had been knocked over and was "smashed into pieces".
Police want anyone with information to call 101, quoting incident 590 of October 7, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. PA