An elderly couple has told of their devastation after a fire ravaged a motorhome on their driveway.

Geoffrey and Carol Bowden, 77, described the damage as a "disaster" and believe they are victims of a random attack after the vehicle was allegedly set alight before the fire spread to their property on Saturday.

Emergency services attended Lambton Drive, Hetton-le-Hole, to extinguish the blaze at 10.30pm and Northumbria Police are now treating the incident as suspected arson.

The couple said they have estimated the damage will cost around £40,000 to repair and had to act quickly to attempt to protect their house.

Carol said: "I heard a noise and I thought it was either windy outside or there was somebody out there. Geoffrey looked through the window and went outside immediately.

"He said the motorhome was on fire and I instantly felt numb."

Panic-stricken Geoffrey ran to get a hose pipe and attempted to put out the fire before emergency services arrived.

He said: "It's a wrench and it's a disaster. We have no idea why anyone has done this.

"There's nothing left of the van and the house is damaged. The driveway, gutters and fence are all affected and there's smoke and water damage in the house.

"But we're still able to live here. The fire hasn't damaged the house enough to warrant moving out."

Geoffrey and Carol Bowden's motorhome was destroyed by fire on the driveway at the rear of their home in Hetton-le-Hole
Geoffrey and Carol Bowden's motorhome was destroyed by fire on the driveway at the rear of their home in Hetton-le-Hole

The retired couple had packed their personal belongings and clothes inside the motorhome as they planned a short trip away.

They had owned the motorhome for two years and had previously used it to travel around Europe on holidays.

Geoffrey said: "We've had motorhomes for 28 years and it was always an ambition of mine to have one. It's been a big part of our life since we retired."

An online fundraiser with the target of £1,000 has been set up to raise money for the family.

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Geoffrey and Carol Bowden's Motorhome was destroyed by fire on the driveway at the rear of their home in Hetton-le-Hole. Photos of the damage
The damage caused by a fire to the couple's motorhome

Police are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “At 11pm on Saturday April 17 we were alerted by the fire service to a motorhome fire on Lambton Drive, Hetton-le-Hole.

“Emergency services attended and found a motorhome that was parked on the drive was on fire with the blaze having subsequently spread to the house. Thankfully, nobody was injured.

“An investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the fire, which is currently being treated as suspected arson.

“Anybody with information is asked to contact police via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of our website or by calling 101 quoting log 1377 170421.