A BUILDER from Salisbury has been left without a work van after it caught alight during the early hours of Boxing Day morning.

Simon Rouse was woken by neighbours at about 2.30am when a car parked illegally next to his van in a parking area behind Winchester Street went up in flames.

But by the time he got outside, his vehicle was already on fire and he was unable to move it away.

Fire crews arrived a short while later and stopped the blaze spreading to other cars parked nearby, but Mr Rouse’s van is likely to be a write-off.

“The vehicle is 13 years old now and it’s very unlikely to be repairable,” said Mr Rouse, a self-employed builder and carpenter. “It was my workhorse really. Unfortunately it was worth a lot more to me than I’m going to get on the insurance.”

“The van is normally in the garage but over Christmas we’ve had a bit of a clear-out and it was just unlucky that it was on the street,” he added.

Mr Rouse, who has owned the van since it was new, said he will have to hire another van while he searches for a replacement.

“Not a good start to the year,” he said. “Neighbours have been really good though; I’ve had lots of offers from people to lend me cars and vehicles to get out and about to find another one.”