A fire which caused hundreds of thousands of pounds-worth of damage to a rural hotel may have been started deliberately, police said.

West Mercia Constabulary said officers wanted to speak to anyone who witnessed suspicious activity near the scene of a blaze at the Bringewood Hotel in Burrington, north Herefordshire.

Fire crews from Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire tackled the fire, which caused substantial damage to a two-storey accommodation block and a dining area.

A police spokesman said no-one was in the hotel when the fire was reported at about 11pm last night.

He added: “Firefighters eventually brought the blaze under control but damage to the building is estimated to be several hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“At this early stage, police and fire investigators are treating the fire as suspicious and forensic examinations by both services will continue throughout the day.

“Investigators are keen to speak to anyone who saw any suspicious activity, vehicles or persons in the Burrington area during the late evening.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sergeant Nick Green at Leominster Police Station on 0300 333 3000.