'Sickening' anti-Semitic attack on Manchester cemetery

  • Published
Media caption,
Officers described the attack as "callous"

Anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas have been daubed over gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police said the attack at the cemetery in Rochdale Road, Blackley, was "sickening and cruel" racism.

In addition to the slogans and graffiti about 40 headstones were toppled by the vandals.

North Manchester Jewish Cemeteries Trust said incidents in the area had decreased over the past three years.

'Diabolical discovery'

Bernard Freeman, 88, visited his mother's grave to discover it had been toppled.

He said: "I come here to say a prayer to my mother and my father and tell them in my own way about the children, the grandchildren and great grandchildren - to come here and find this, it's diabolical, it really is."

Image caption,
A number of graves were damaged in the attack

"This is a sickening and cruel act of racism," said Insp Mike Reid.

"The vandalism of a gravestone is, in itself, a sickening act but to violate the memory of those resting in the cemetery still further by daubing racial slurs on the graves is truly repulsive.

"I cannot begin to get into the mind of someone who would commit such an atrocity."

Greater Manchester had the UK's highest number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2011, but this has dropped according The Community Security Trust - a Jewish charity.

"A lot of good work has been done by Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service - we hope this is is an isolated incident," said a trust spokesman.

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