VANDALS have targeted Prestonpans Cemetery, knocking down several gravestones and leaving vases and other items broken and strewn around the ground.

The damage was discovered last Friday morning by workmen and comes two years after vandals left a trail of destruction through the cemetery after another attack.

Police are investigating the latest incident, which is believed to have occurred last Thursday evening.

Sergeant Derek MacDonald, of Tranent Police Station, said those involved were lucky not to have been injured.

He said: “Vandalism in cemeteries is an extremely anti-social crime which rightly offends and distresses members of the community and we take this type of incident extremely seriously.

“It is also a dangerous activity given the weight of the stones themselves and it is fortunate that no one was seriously injured.”

East Lothian Council confirmed several memorial stones had been knocked over, some breaking, while mementoes and tributes left at the gravesides had also been damaged and moved.

A council spokesperson said: “Vandalism at cemeteries causes considerable distress to people who tend and visit graves of their loved ones. Damage to memorial stones can result in considerable expense for repairs which adds to their upset.

“Deliberately shoving and dislodging granite memorial stones and monuments is extremely dangerous as their weight is considerable and there have been fatalities in recent years in graveyards in Scotland.

“The council is working with police colleagues to try to track down those responsible and if anyone saw anything on Thursday night please contact Police Scotland on 101.”

In July 2015, workmen arrived at the cemetery to find vandals had gone on a rampage, ripping up solar lights placed at gravesides, and swiping toys, mementoes and vases full of flowers.

The damage was made worse by the fact council workers were unable to establish which shattered tributes belonged to which grave and had to pile them up in a wheelbarrow.

Relatives had to be asked to come to the cemetery and look through the wheelbarrow to find the items which had been left at their loved ones’s graves.