Police believed that a gang of drunks had climbed the flagpole and bent it under their weight shortly after 11pm. They then made their way down London Road leaving behind a trail of destruction.
Seven cars at Bygraves and Dunton Corner garages were smashed up and a car stereo stolen; a window at Peter Dominic off-licence was broken; and road signs and bus stops were kicked down.
The damage was estimated to be in the region of £3,000.
Mayor Charles Cook said: “It is quite disgraceful that anybody could vandalise the war memorial.
“If they thought of what all those lads died for, they would realise how degrading this whole episode is.”
He was anxious to get a new flagpole up up in time for the St George’s Day Parade. And he warned that the vandalism would cost ratepayers around £400.