A Christmas Day blaze tore through the home of an elderly man in West Molesey after a “disgusting” arson attack, Detective Sergeant Nick Ring has said.

Surrey Police said the elderly homeowner was out at the time of the incident, and there were no reported injuries.

A passerby walking along Pool Road called 999 to report the fire, which took place at around 10.35 pm on December 25.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service attended and put out the fire before midnight and determined the cause of the fire to be deliberate.

Detective Sergeant Nick Ring said: “To deliberately set someone’s house on fire on Christmas Day is truly disgusting.

“Fortunately the homeowner was out at the time and no one was injured, but to have this happen at such a time of year adds to the trauma of what’s happened.

“We’re grateful that the member of the public reported the fire, otherwise it may have got much worse before being extinguished.”

Officers are appealing for any witnesses to come forward to help identify the person responsible.

Police would like to speak to anyone in the area who may have left their home late on December 25 or saw or smelled anything suspicious.

You can report any information by calling 101 or visiting www.surrey.police.uk/ReportIt, with the reference number PR/45180136767.

Alternatively you can report any information in complete anonymity to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.