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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 June, 2005, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
Racist gang attack Jewish graves
Rainsough Cemetery in Prestwich (Credit MEN)
The cemetery has been vandalised twice before
A Jewish cemetery in Greater Manchester has been vandalised in what police say is a racially motivated attack.

About 100 headstones and graves were damaged at Rainsough Cemetery in Prestwich, causing damage put at nearly 150,000.

The damage was discovered on Thursday and reported to police.

Det Insp Simon Collier, from Greater Manchester Police, said: "I find it hard to believe that people could commit such a heartless offence."

Pushed over

"Each grave damaged has Hebrew inscriptions on it, I think it is a racist incident," he added.

"It is disgusting that someone could commit a crime of such a thoughtless and disrespectful nature in a place where people come to grieve and mourn the loss of their loved ones.

"Acts like these cause great emotional distress to friends and relatives, not to mention the financial cost which clearing the cemetery and repairing the gravestones is likely to incur."

Louis Rapaport, president of the Jewish Representatives Council for Greater Manchester, believes it was a planned operation.

"To do so much damage must have taken some time," he said, adding that the extent of the damage indicated those who carried it out were "more than a few casual louts".

Police said several items were recovered from the scene for examination but refused to say what they were.

It the third serious attack at the cemetery in three years.

In January 2002 three youths were convicted of damaging headstones and in August 2003, 20 gravestones were pushed over in an attack treated by police at the time as racially motivated.

Vandals smash graves at cemetery
21 May 05 |  Manchester
'Racists' target Jewish graves
05 Aug 03 |  Manchester

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