Sectarian graffiti spray painted and scraped into gravestones in a Co Tyrone cemetery has been condemned as “disgusting”.
The criminal damage was caused to a number of gravestones in Drum Road Cemetery in Cookstown in the early hours of yesterday.
A PSNI spokesman said: “At this stage, police are treating the incident as a hate crime.”
DUP MLA for Mid-Ulster Ian McCrea condemned the attack and called for anyone with information to come forward to the police to help catch those responsible.
“I was appalled to learn that republican graffiti was sprayed and scraped onto gravestones in recent days at the old cemetery at Blackhill,” he said.
He added that “a cemetery is a private and personal place for families to visit the graves of their loved ones and these actions are nothing more than disgusting”.
“These types of actions should be condemned by all sides of the community, especially given the location of these mindless acts,” he added.
UUP councillor for the area Trevor Wilson said he was “shocked and disgusted” following the cemetery vandalism.
“I am in no doubt that these actions will be condemned right across the community and that all of Cookstown will be horrified that the sanctity of a graveyard should be desecrated in such a disrespectful manner and share in the distress of the families affected,” he said.
Six men were yesterday arrested in connection with the incident but were later released unconditionally.
Three of the group received adult cautions for minor drugs offences.