Vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in England that damaged a historic prayer bell is being investigated by local police as a hate crime.

The weekend incident in Whitefield resulted in a damaged headstone, smashed windows and sinks and the destruction of surveillance cameras, The Associated Press reported, citing Greater Manchester Police.


Superintendent Paul Walker told the AP that police are "treating this incident as a hate crime, and I want to send a clear message that incidents of this nature will never be tolerated in our communities."

“We have launched an investigation and whilst the CCTV has been destroyed by the offenders – clearly in an attempt to cover their tracks – I can assure you that we have a team of dedicated officers working to piece together exactly what happened in an attempt to find those responsible,” Walker said.

The vandalism mostly took place in the ohel, or prayer hall, where the inside was damaged, according to the Guardian.

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, but police also said it could be a burglary since pieces of metal were removed from the building, indicating the individuals may have been looking for scrap metal.