A BURGLAR who broke into a York property early today started a fire.

North Yorkshire Police said two properties in Monkgate Cloisters were burgled, one at 5.40am and the other at 6.10am.

"Nothing was stolen from either of the premises," he said. "However, at the second property the burglar started a fire, causing a small amount of damage."

He said a man was seen in the area at the time, described as white, in his late 20s, about 6ft tall, with an athletic build and short dark hair. "He was clean shaven and had a large tattoo on the left hand side of his neck," he said. "The man was wearing a black crew neck t-shirt, blue jeans and red trainers."

Detective Inspector Alan Rowan, of York CID, said: “If you were in the Monkgate Cloisters area at the time of the burglaries and noticed anyone acting in a suspicious manner, or believe you may have seen this man, I urge you to come forward and contact the police straight away.” Anyone with information should call 101.

DI Rowan also warned residents about the danger of leaving doors and windows open.

He said: "“While we are having this spell of warm weather, can I please remind homeowners to keep doors and windows securely locked.

"Even if you are in the house, an open window provides opportunist thieves with an easy target. They will be in and out of your home within moments having stolen your personal items.”