DOZENS of sacred Jewish manuscripts salvaged during the Holocaust were destroyed when a South Tottenham synagogue was deliberately set on fire.

The Jewish community is in shock after the South Tottenham United Synagogue, in Crowland Road, was set alight in broad daylight on Thursday afternoon.

A library and stock-room containing rare books rescued from the Nazi advance in Eastern Europe during World War II was gutted.

Vandals had forced open a protective grill covering one of the windows at the rear of the synagogue, before smashing the glass and throwing lit material into the building.

The fire was spotted by some workmen working on a house extension opposite the synagogue at around 2.30pm.

Firecrews rushed to the scene and extinguished the fire within minutes, but the store room, which acted as a library. was rendered unusable.

Mike Whine, Director of Communications for the Community Security Trust, who represent the Jewish community on matters of security, said: "The Jewish community has a long-standing community in Tottenham which has generally not had problems.

"Any attack on a place of worship is abhorrent and should be treated extremely suspiciously. But we are not pointing fingers in any directions, this is an act of vandalism."

A day later, a Jewish community building in Hendon was the target of another suspected arson. The office of the Aish Ha Torah was gutted during the attack.

Mr Whine said: "No claim for responsibility has been made, nor is it thought that there is any connection between the two incidents.

The rest of the Tottenham community has reacted in disgust to the attack.

Keith Flett, chair of Haringey Trades Union Council, said: "It is far from obvious who might be involved, but attacks like these seek to undermine the cohesive multi-cultural community that we have."

William MacDougall, of Tottenham conservatives, said: "The documents which were destroyed were important and precious.

"They were a loss not only to the Jewish community but also to all of British society."

Police are treating the fire as suspicious. Anyone with information contact Tottenham police on 8345 0763 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.