A FAMILY has thanked an eagle-eyed neighbour for potentially saving their home and lives after spotting their ice cream van on fire on their driveway.

The Jays Ice and Bounce van was torched by arsonists at about 2am on Saturday morning in Clayton Road, Ramsey.

Charlene Rixon, who runs the business with her husband James, said the couple and their children were all asleep when a neighbour called.

She said: "We are just thankful that my neighbour across the road was awake and saw it otherwise it could of been fatal - me my hubby and six children were asleep in the house.

"The neighbour rang my mobile phone.

"The fire service came, but by time they got here my husband and neighbour had already half put the fire out - they were very helpful though and we are thankful for them turning up."

The family have been told the fire was started deliberately.

Charlene added: "The fire brigade said deliberate arson by unknown person and the ice cream van is off the road and not usable.

"The children are traumatised - they are three, six, nine, 11, 13 and 16.

"They are still so scared and keep asking what if they come back and do your car mum.

"There was two cars parked in front of the ice cream van on the path whomever done this had to go through both the cars to get to my ice cream van.

"Its busiest time for us now - we are just gutted."

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Firefighters were called to reports of a vehicle fire in Clayton Road, Ramsey at 2.44am on Saturday, June1.

“The fire was extinguished by 3.04am. The cause has been recorded as deliberate.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "We were called at around 2.45am on Saturday, June 1, about a vehicle on fire in Clayton Road, Ramsey.

"We attended and we are treating the fire as deliberate. Enquiries are ongoing."

Anyone with information is asked Harwich police station on 101 quoting crime reference 42/85652/19 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.