Vandals have been slammed after about £15,000 of damage was caused to headstones – including some from World War One – at a cemetery in Houghton.
Police are appealing for information after five gravestones were damaged at Hillside Cemetery, in Stanley Street.
The damage occured between Wednesday, February 17 and Monday, March 21. A further 10 have also been knocked over.
It is estimated that the damage caused will cost about £15,000 to repair.
Police previously appealed for information after two headstones were pushed over at the same location in February.
Neighbourhood officers are paying extra attention to the grounds and working with the site owners to help prevent any further incidents.
These graves have great sentimental value, and intentionally damaging them is hugely disrespectful to those who lost their lives in World War One.Les Goodliff
Houghton’s Acting Neighbourhood Inspector Les Goodliff said: “Not only is the damage that has been caused going to cost a substantial amount of money to repair, but these graves have great sentimental value, and intentionally damaging them is hugely disrespectful to those who lost their lives in World War One.
“We are working with Friends of Houghton Hillside Cemetery to help prevent any further incidents happening at the site, and also to help us identify those who are responsible and we would ask anyone who does have any information to please get in contact with us.
“Officers will be paying extra attention to the grounds and carrying out regular patrols throughout the cemetery.”
Friends of Houghton Hillside Cemetery secretary Janice Short said: “The war graves were damaged in February, and I discovered this latest damage.
“I walked down to the bottom level, and there were 12 to 15 graves there which had been pushed over.
“I was furious to see it, and I knew it had been done intentionally, because those graves were sturdy.
“They had obviously been pushed over, and it’s so disrespectful that someone would even think about doing something like this.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 968 210316, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.