A businessman claims a dirty tricks campaign is being waged against him after his new work van was destroyed in an arson attack.
Michael Glover only bought the £5,000 Ford Transit vehicle seven weeks ago as he started up his mobile tyre fitting service, Tyreserv.
But he was awoken by his mum Marie in the early hours of Sunday to find the van ablaze and thousands of pounds worth of equipment inside destroyed.
Now, Mr Glover, is offering a cash reward for information to find those responsible for the attack, which happened as van was left parked outside his Felsham Square home, in Sunderland’s Ford Estate.
Police have also said they are investigating the incident.
“I can’t believe what’s happened,” the 21-year-old told the Echo.
It’s really disappointing, but I will be back up and running as soon as I can.Michael Glover
“I got home at about 12.30am but I was still in the van until 1 because I was on the phone.
“After I went to bed, my mam must’ve got woken up by the flames shining through the bedroom window.
“When she told me I ran out to try and save some of the stuff in the back of the van, but the flames were horrendous.”
Mr Glover is now counting the cost of the damage, but says he is determined to get his firm back up and running as soon as possible.
“I’ve lost every mortal thing,” he added. “All of the machines, tyres and tools have gone.
“It was worth more than £8,000 altogether and that’s a lot of money especially when most of it was new.
“I put a new engine on my compressor which was £300 alone.
“It’s really disappointing, but I will be back up and running as soon as I can.”
The only thing Mr Glover managed to save from the wreckage were the two back doors of the van.
Mr Glover now hopes that a police investigation will help to track down those responsible for the fire, which also affected neighbours’ cars, walls and paths in the cul-de-sac.
“Why would someone be in this street at that time? It’s a cul-de-sac so it’s not as if you’d pass through it.
“Maybe they don’t realise that it could have been a lot worse and people could have been seriously hurt.”
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “At 4.46am on Sunday, May 8, police were informed a van was on fire in Felsham Square, in Ford Estate.
“It’s believed it had been set on fire deliberately and the incident is being treated as arson.
“Inquiries are on-going.”
Any witnesses should ring Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 100516 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.