A father-of-three who has spent thousands on a classic camper van has spoken of his family’s devastation after the beloved vehicle was stolen from outside their home and set on fire.

The fire brigade were called to Chesham High Street in the early hours of Sunday morning to reports of a suspected arson attack after a VW campervan was found ablaze near Betfred.

Dan Neagle, 42, says his heartbroken children – aged 15, nine and six – have been left questioning why someone would steal the cherished campervan, which they have owned since May last year.

It was often used by Mr Neagle and his wife and children at weekends and the family used to go away on trips with it when it was not put away in dry storage.

The 52-year-old van, which is in “show condition”, was taken from outside their home in White Hill Close while the family were still inside the house.

Mr Neagle said: “I went outside on Sunday morning and found it had gone. Someone I know sent me a picture of a burnt out campervan and said ‘I hope this isn’t yours’, but it was.

“Someone had stolen it, took it for a ride then smashed it up and burnt it. We are absolutely gutted and still can’t really comprehend what has happened. There was no reason for it and I can’t get my head around it.”

The valuable vehicle was so well-known around the town, it was “like the face of Chesham”, the distraught owner said.

He added: “A hell of a lot of money has been spent on it and I bought it with inheritance that my dad left me. I have wanted one for about 30 years. I have wanted it since I was about 14, it has taken this long for me to get one and now they have just taken it away from me.

“If they can steal a car as valuable as this, one that means so much to someone, and just set fire to it, then they obviously don’t care what cars they wreck.”

He hopes that witnesses who may have saw what happened will come forward and help police find out what happened.

Call 101 if you have any information that could help the investigation.