A double attack on a Jewish cemetery in Manchester has been condemned as the sickening work of racists.
North Manchester's Blackley cemetery was targeted twice in two weeks, causing an estimated £100,000 worth of damage to around 56 graves, including seven belonging to one family. Swastikas and antisemitic graffiti were also painted and scratched onto historic headstones dating back to the 1900s.
Vandals' footprints still remain stamped on top of some graves, evidence of the running kicks required to knock down the heavy headstones thought to have been attacked on Sunday evening.
The traces have been analysed by forensic officers from Greater Manchester Police, which was also conducting door to door enquiries in surrounding streets.
Police are also investigating a connected incident of black swastikas and anti-Jewish daubings at the cemetery thought to have occurred two weeks before.
Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner condemned the attacks along with GMP's Inspector Mike Reid. who said: "This is a sickening and cruel act of racism.”
“Should we find those who committed this cowardly act, that will allow the courts to impose even harsher punishments,” he added.
The Community Security Trust said it was working with the police to support the local community and called on anybody with information that may help their investigation to come forward.
Cemeteries Trust treasurer Stephen Niman said the attack highlighted the fact that cemeteries were the “responsibility of the whole community to look after. We can put up cameras and barbed wire to try and protect them but need families to provide funding and input”.