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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
'Racists' target Jewish graves
Jewish Cemetery in Prestwich, Greater Manchester
Vandals knocked over 20 headstones at the cemetery
Police say a vandal attack on a Jewish cemetery in Greater Manchester was motivated by racism.

Twenty headstones were pushed over and smashed at the Hebrew Burial Ground in Butterstile Lane, Prestwich.

It is believed the destruction took place between 1900 BST on Monday and 0730 BST on Tuesday.

The damage is expected to cost about 40,000 to repair.

Sergeant Ian Campbell, of Greater Manchester Police, said the attack was being treated as racially motivated.

Whoever is responsible for this, whether they are boys or men, must be sick in their minds
Sonny Fromson, Rainsough Joint Burial Board
He added: "This is a particularly mean spirited and callous attack on the last resting place of some Jewish dead in Prestwich.

"It would appear that overnight approximately 20 headstones were pushed over and smashed.

"These were particularly heavy being made of marble and granite and we think that the damage will run into tens of thousands of pounds."

He added: "Unfortunately the cemetery is used as a meeting place by children and as a cut through to nearby woods.

"Officers regularly patrol the area and a number of initiatives have been introduced nearby to keep the local children occupied and away from the actual cemetery.

'No respect'

"I would ask local resident to be extra vigilant to any activity in the area and report anything suspicious they see to the police."

Sonny Fromson, chairman of the Rainsough Joint Burial Board, said: "It is a case of pure and mindless vandalism.

"Whoever is responsible for this, whether they are boys or men, must be sick in their minds.

"They have obviously got no respect whatsoever for the dead and unfortunately it causes a lot of heartbreak to the families concerned."

The vandalism is the second attack on the cemetery in less than two years.

Three youths were convicted of damaging headstones in January 2002.

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