Police are hunting a gang of sick cemetery vandals who spray-painted 24 graves – including those of dead soldiers – with SWASTIKAS and graffiti on Armistice Day.
Grieving relatives were disgusted when they discovered their loved-ones graves had been attacked hours before the nation remembered the fallen.
In an appalling display of disrespect, 24 graves where vandalised at Nottingham Road Cemetery, in Chaddesden, Derbys., causing more than £6,500 of damage.
Among graves defaced were those dedicated to fallen soldiers and the discovery was made just minutes after the country came to a standstill at 11am for Armistice Day.
Obscene drawings, swear words, swastikas and sinister messages were daubed on graves across the cemetery between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Yesterday, family members were in tears scrubbing the graffiti from the graves, which included those of toddlers and some family plots.
The entrance to the cemetery was also vandalised, with a “We were here” message scrawled on the ground.
Another grave had the chilling words “You’re soul is mine” while another was scrawled with a swastika symbol.
Carol Bonsall’s grandma and great-grandparents are buried at the site and she alerted the police to the incident.
The 59-year-old said she was left “shattered” when she walked through the cemetery and discovered the damage.
She said: “I was left speechless. It started off with the message saying they had been here and that was bad enough.
“When I walked through I noticed it was on the graves. I was disgusted and it’s a really terrible reflection on Chaddesden.
“I saw the military graves which had been targeted and my heart sank. It’s sick and evil.
“I don’t know why anybody would even consider doing something like this. I was shocked and horrified that somebody could do this.”
“My thoughts are with the families of those who have been targeted.” Derbyshire Police are now hunting the vandals.
Sergeant Nick Beeston said: “This is one of the most disrespectful acts of vandalism I have witnessed.
“To commit this type of crime in such a sensitive location shows a complete lack of thought or respect for the families and friends of those whose graves have been attacked and we are determined to bring those responsible to justice to face up to their actions”
Derby North MP Amanda Solloway described the attack as “disgusting”.
She added: “People who have friends and relatives there will quite rightly be fearful for the safety of the graves of loved ones.”