A BELOVED classic car was destroyed in a Southampton garage fire, which has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

The 1971 Austin 700 belonging to David Steege was completely destroyed during an early morning garage fire which tore through the block of garages just off Mortimer Road, Itchen.

The heat of the fire was so intense that it melted light fittings and completely gutted the classic car.

"I think it was kids," said the 70-year-old maintenance man.

"There were some hanging about here at just after midnight."

"My new car was in front of the garage and the front of it has melted because it was mostly plastic.

"I'm angry and annoyed, but these things happen. people get drunk and do stupid things "

"I think someone must have bunged something in the garage and legged it."

A neighbour called the fire brigade just after 3am and crews swiftly arrived on the scene from Hightown and St Marys battled the blaze for just over an hour.

They used one jet, two hose reels and donned breathing apparatus to extinguish the fire.

As well as the car neighbouring garages were also gutted with several bikes, and other items destroyed in the blaze.

Neighbour, Matthew Moulsdale said: "I keep my bike in one of the garages and it's been destroyed."

An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the fire.