DETECTIVES have appealed for witnesses and a £10,000 reward has been offered after a suspected arson attack in Ryedale.

Dale Head House, between Hawnby and Osmotherley, was ten months into a renovation programme when it caught fire overnight between Sunday, May 23 and Monday, May 24.

A builder who was staying at the site woke at about 2am on the Monday and found the property well ablaze.

Jonathan Reed, the owner of the property, is offering a £10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

He said: “My intention was to live in the house part-time and as an architect brought up in the area with strong local connections, I intended to retire to the house.

“The incident is upsetting because so much time and energy has been invested over the past year by many talented local crafts people.

“All the materials were sourced locally and as the house is in such a sensitive location we were hoping the result would be a landmark renovation within the National Park.

“It looks like a mindless act of vandalism has prevented this from ever happening.

“It has destroyed a fantastic house in a beautiful area and has probably cost me £500,000.”

Detective Sergeant Ian Fieldsend, of Malton CID, said: “We are appealing to anyone who travelled along the Hawnby to Osmotherley road between 9pm on Sunday, May 23, and 4am on Monday, May 24, to get in touch with the police if they saw any suspicious people or vehicles.”

Anyone with information that could help the investigation should phone DC Fieldsend on 0845 6060247, or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.