Vandals destroy headstones in Jewish cemetery in Manchester
Police are appealing for information after vandals knocked over and smashed headstones.
Vandals have knocked over and smashed headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Greater Manchester.
Greater Manchester Police found 14 headstones had been destroyed in Blackley Jewish Cemetery in Charlestown on Wednesday.
The headstones were reportedly purposefully knocked over and damaged.
Officers said they will be recorded as hate crimes and the damage will cost a combined £40,000 to fix.
I think this is mindless vandalism. I just don’t think they understand the unnecessary distress they cause to the families of these departed loved ones. It’s mindless - they need to find better things to do and make a more useful contribution to society than rampaging cemeteries. I think they need help - they need education and probably counselling.Stephen Wilson, Administrator for the North Manchester Jewish Cemeteries Trust
Police have stepped up patrols in the area following the vandalism.
Two more headstones were found damaged at Failsworth Jewish Cemetery, though police report this does not seem to be a result of criminal damage and are not linking this to the other incident.
Chief superintendent Wasim Chaudry from GMP's North Manchester Division said: "This is a sickening act of criminal damage which we are taking very seriously.
"I believe this was a deliberate and targeted attack and there is no place for such abhorrent behaviour in our communities. All decent members of the public recognise that a cemetery is supposed to be a resting place for people who have passed away; a place of sanctity and dignity where families can come and pay their respects.
"So to have those graves desecrated in such a disgusting and disrespectful way will no doubt cause immeasurable anguish to the families and loved ones affected. I cannot begin to get into the mind of someone who would commit such an atrocity.
"I know this will cause a lot of anxiety and distress in the local community and we as police officers and my colleagues at Manchester City Council and Oldham Council share that distress. We will do everything we can to find out who is responsible and bring the full force of the law down on them.
"This has been recorded as a hate crime because of the clear racial motivation and, should we find those who committed this cowardly act, that will allow the courts to impose even harsher punishments."
This is a disgusting act of vandalism that will cause anguish, fear and anger among our communities, and could lead to serious divisions within our neighbourhoods. We’re in contact with the Community Security Trust – an organisation that protects British Jews from antisemitism and related threats – and I want to reassure them, and our Jewish community, that such deplorable behaviour will not be tolerated in Greater Manchester.Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner
Police are appealing for witnesses, or anyone with information, to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.