THE creators of a public artwork highlighting a market town's history have appealed for help to restore it after an arson attack.

Residents in the St Mary's Walk area of Thirsk alerted police at 12.45am on Sunday after being disturbed by loud music and youths throwing bangers in the nearby Millennium Green.

Officers issued four youths with advice and told them to leave the area.

Hours later, dog walkers discovered a trail of destruction in the park and surrounding streets, including smashed bottles, numerous panels that had been ripped off fences, broken stolen chairs and damage to litter bins.

They also found the Millennium Mosaic, that up to 100 people, including schoolchildren, about eight months to create in 1999, had been wrecked after being used as the base for a fire.

Angela Hall, director of Rural Arts, a Thirsk-based charity which works to provide creative opportunities for people across North Yorkshire and the Tees Valley, said it appeared the vandals had gouged out a large section of the artwork.

She said many of the glass and porcelain tiles, which depict historic scenes around the town, such as The Golden Fleece, the clock tower and the Hambleton hills, had smoke damage or were missing.

After viewing the damage, Mayor of Thirsk, Councillor Janet Watson said: "I am outraged that this work by the community has been wrecked.

"Anti-social behaviour does not describe it, it's sheer vandalism."

The vandalism spree came a night after police staged a disco at Thirsk School and Sixth-Form College to connect with youths and reduce anti-social behaviour in the area.

A police spokeswoman added: “Local people have put a lot of work into the Millennium Green over the years, making it a space for everyone to enjoy.

"The lack of respect and mindless damage caused to the mosaic has caused upset for local residents."

Anyone with information about the vandals should call police 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.

Mrs Hall appealed to people who were involved in creating the artwork to email if they were able to help restore the mosaic.