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Monday, 20 September 2010

20 graves vandalised in second racist attack on Leeds cemetery (UK)

Vandals have struck at a Leeds cemetry for the second time in an attack police believe to be racially motivated.

In the latest incident, more than 20 graves were damaged at Harehills Cemetery.

The incidents are believed to have taken place overnight between Friday and Saturday in an area of the cemetery predominantly used by Muslim families.

The damage includes broken name plaques and headstones.

Chief Inspector Melanie Jones of West Yorkshire Police said: "This incident has caused a great deal of distress to a number of people in the local community and an investigation into the damage has been launched.

"Over the weekend we have worked alongside community leaders to identify and contact the next of kin of those whose graves have been affected by this mindless act of vandalism.

"We have also undertaken a full forensic examination of the scene, including a number of discarded items that were found in the area, as well as analysing local CCTV.

"At this stage the incident is being treated as a racially motivated crime and we are determined to catch those responsible.

"I would ask that anybody who was in the area of the cemetery on Friday evening and witnessed anything suspicious to contact us.

"This incident undermines much of the work both ourselves and Leeds City Council have undertaken during the last year to improve security at the cemetery with increased patrols by neighbourhood wardens and police officers.

"I would like to reassure local people that everything is being done to find those responsible and bring them to justice."

Similar incidents were recorded in March and though an arrest had been made, police were unable to bring a prosecution.

Anyone with information is asked to contact 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

Yorkshire Post