POLICE are looking for a vital potential witness to an alleged sexual assault in North Yorkshire.

A horse rider, believed to be a woman, was in the Kirkham Priory area near Malton at about 7.30am on Tuesday, October 29, and disturbed the occupants of a small white van.

North Yorkshire Police want to speak to the rider who may have information which could help their investigation into a number of serious offences, including rape.

A man is in custody awaiting trial, accused of kidnapping a 20-year-old woman in York and raping her during a journey to Malton and back.

Detective Sgt John Spivey of the force’s Major Crime Unit, said: “We appreciate that some time has passed since this incident happened, but we hope our appeal will prompt someone’s memory.

“It’s likely that the rider was unaware that an alleged serious crime was being committed at the time but it is very important that we speak to them as they could have vital information which could help our investigation and I urge them to make contact as soon as possible. If anyone knows any riders who ride in the Kirkham Priory area, we ask you please make them aware of this appeal.”

Anyone with information should phone the force control room on 01904 618691.

Mark Anthony Thompson, 36, of Hospital Fields Road off Fulford Road in York, is due to stand trial in April.