A MAN believed to be homeless has seen his car go up in flames in a suspected arson attack.

Firefighters were called to the fire engulfing a blue Hyundai Coupe parked near St Luke’s church in Stanmore, Winchester, at around 1am Wednesday morning.

The car owner, who is thought to have been sleeping rough in the vehicle, was not present when the fire started but returned as the crew from Winchester tackled the flames with a hose reel and two breathing apparatus.

Watch manager Mark Compton said the fire was thought to have been deliberately started. “There was a strong smell of petrol around the car.

“Whether that was within the car was hard to tell.”

Police said they are investigating.

A spokeswoman said: “We were called by Hampshire Fire & Rescue at 1.16am to a report that they had attended a vehicle fire in Mildmay Street, Winchester.

“The vehicle, a blue Hyundai Coupe, was burned out. The fire is believed to have taken place between 1am and 1.55am.”

The Daily Echo visited the scene of the blaze yesterday and the vehicle was still in the church car park.

Clothes, bottles and various other personal belongings, including a sleeping bag, were still inside the vehicle, and appeared to be untouched by the fire.