A STATUE installed to honour the fallen heroes of the First World War has been repeatedly shot at by vandals.

The Royal British Legion has been providing 'silent soldier' silhouettes to locations across the country, ahead of the centenary of Armistice Day. 

One of the life-size memorials, which proudly stood at the entry sign to Carterton, has been dented with bullet holes in a 'disgusting' act of vandalism.

READ AGAIN: Silent soldiers installed to remember First World War dead

It is not clear what weapon was used but the town's Mayor Martin McBride said it looked like it had been shot seven times with pellets which had made several indents in the body of the soldier. 

Oxford Mail:

Thames Valley Police's team in West Oxfordshire tweeted yesterday: "Damage has been caused to the Silent Soldier in Alvescot Road, which was then thrown in the ditch.

"This is disgusting behaviour - please help to catch the culprits."

Anyone with information has been urged to call 101. 

Carterton Town Council shared shocking photos of the damage on its Facebook page, stating the soldier has been used for 'target practice'.

In a post, it said: "The Silent Soldier sited at the Alvescot Road town gates has been used as target practice and then thrown into a ditch.

"Not only is this vandalism but a terrible act of disrespect to the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for us.

"The person that carried this out should hang their head in shame, but I suspect they are too ignorant to even understand the meaning behind the silhouettes."

Any business or community group can buy and sponsor a silhouette, and the one in Alvescot Road was sponsored by Carterton Town Council. 

Another is being displayed outside County Hall in Oxford, in an act of remembrance to those who served and sacrificed their lives, and to show support for the work of the Royal British Legion.

Oxford Mail:

RBL chairwoman Lynda Atkins with a 'silent soldier' outside County Hall in Oxford

Mr McBride said the town warden had discovered the damage while making routine checks in the town on Wednesday morning. 

The warden has since reinstalled it in position and the council is now considering whether to replace the damaged soldier with a new figure. 

Each soldier costs £250 with much of the money going to charity. 

He added: "We are hoping it is just a one-off and not somebody with a grudge. 

"One can only assume it was somebody who is young enough to not have any respect for the past."

One Oxford Mail reader said another 'silent solider' in the town has also been vandalised.