THERE is vandalism and there is vandalism, and then there is idiotic trashing of a piece of world-renowned Scottish history carried out by cretinous numbskull low-life morons who should hang their heads in shame at their crime.

It is enough to make the bronze statue of Greyfriars Bobby weep, and whoever thought it would be fun at the weekend to topple over the granite headstone of Bobby’s master, Auld Jock Gray, in Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh should realise the pain they are causing.

For the grave in the Kirkyard and the statue of Bobby – itself damaged by tourists rubbing it for luck – are to be at the centre of a memorial service on Sunday for Bobby and his master, commemorating the wee dog’s 14 years of faithfully staying by Auld Jock’s grave.

It’s the story that the world loves, the subject of books and films, but damaging Scotland’s reputation clearly means nothing to the hooligans who committed this sacrilege on holy ground.

Despite the louts’ actions, the ceremony will go ahead, and Lord Provost Frank Ross, whose predecessor Sir William Chambers saved Bobby’s life by buying the Skye Terrier a licence, will lead the events that mark the 146th anniversary of Bobby’s death on 14 January, 1872.

The problem for those searching for the pathetic miscreants who toppled the headstone is that Greyfriars Kirkyard has been subjected to vandalism for many years. It is also a known haunt of drug addicts.

George Robinson, of the One O’Clock Gun Association, who is helping to organise Sunday’s ceremony, told reporters: “There are guys wandering around there totally out of their mind. You can’t control that.

“I’ve personally seen someone shooting up in the Kirkyard. There’s a tour guide I know, Wallace Ferguson. He does great work there, going around picking up needles and the like.

“If you go up there you’ll find headstones are getting smashed. It’s an impossible situation to deal with. The police would need to be there 24/7.”

Steve Lister, operations manager at Greyfriars Kirk, said: “The headstone looks as though it’s in one piece but there has been some damage.

“It’s the first time this particular headstone has been vandalised, but we do get a lot of vandalism in the churchyard.

“The main focus on Sunday is Bobby’s headstone, which has not been vandalised yet, but obviously people usually come to visit both.”

Sources suggest the latest vandalism was just a piece of high spirits gone wrong, and that some tourists had piled on to the gravestone for a picture and knocked it over by accident.If that is the case could they ‘fess up and send a cheque for the repair, please.

A spokeswoman for City of Edinburgh Council, which owns the cemetery, said: “Following an inspection earlier this week by our structural engineers, the headstone has been made safe.

“We intend to re-erect it next week following the installation of new foundations. In the meantime signage will be put up to advise the public of these plans.”