(JTA) — Fourteen headstones at a Jewish cemetery in England have been destroyed by vandals.
The damage to Blackley Jewish Cemetery in northeast Manchester is believed to have occurred on Wednesday, London’s Jewish Chronicle reported the following day.
Manchester police said the vandalism was “a deliberate and targeted attack” and they “will do everything we can to find out who is responsible and bring the full force of the law down on them.”
The incident is being investigated as a hate crime and extra patrols have been placed in the area.
The Community Security Trust, the security arm of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom, said it had joined Greater Manchester Police and the Jewish Cemetery Trust in inspecting the gravestones.
“Even though no anti-Semitic graffiti was found, at best this is a despicable act of criminal vandalism and at worst a targeted hate crime,” the Community Security Trust said in a statement. “It has caused deep distress to those who have loved ones in the cemetery and to the wider Jewish community.”
In June 2014, numerous gravestones at the same cemetery were smashed and defaced with swastikas. Two 13-year-old boys pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal damage.