AN award-winning children’s writer whose career was ruined when he was jailed for sex attacks on children has been found dead at his home in the Yorkshire Dales.

William Mayne, who was 82, was the author of more than 100 books and was regarded as one of the leading children's authors of the 20th-century.

But his career crashed to a halt in 2004 when he was jailed for two-and-a-half years by a judge at Teesside Crown Court.

He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register and banned from working with children for life after admitting to 11 charges of indecent assault between 1960 and 1975.

His was found dead this morning at his home in the picturesque village of Thornton Rust, near Leyburn.

A police spokesman said: "At about 9.15am we were called to the sudden death of an 82-year-old man. There are no suspicious circumstances."

The writer, who was born in Hull but lived in North Yorkshire most of his life, won dozens of awards over the years for his works, which began appearing in the early 1950s.

The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature described him as one of the most outstanding children’s authors of the last century.

His awards included the Carnegie Medal in 1957 for A Glass Rope and the Guardian Award in 1993 for Low Tide.

His 1955 book A Swarm in May was made into a film in 1983 and Earthfasts, published in 1966, was screened as a five-part BBC TV series in 1994.