Shocking pictures show how vandals have sliced through priceless art work at Eye Town Hall.
The paintings damaged include Mayor Samuel Peck, who opened the town hall in 1856, and Lord Cornwallis.
The break-in was just two days before the town hall committee is due to hold an informal reopening of the building following a £170,000 refurbishment, with support from Historic England, Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk District Council.
“It’s absolutely sickening, just barbaric,” said town councillor, Caroline Byles
“It is just wanton vandalism. It looks like they have slashed the paintings with knives, with damage amounting to several thousand pounds.
“We will still go ahead with our opening on Wednesday.”
It is understood the offenders smashed a clock tower window to gain entrance.
A spokesman for Suffolk Police said: “We are in the early stages of our investigation into a break-in and vandalism at Eye Town Hall.”
Anyone with information should contact Suffolk Police on 101