A FORMER prison van has been given a new lease if life as a holiday home.

Robert Stevens, 54, of Sunderland, bought the vehicle for £2,700 at auction and has removed the cells and bars and fitted beds and solar panels.

The van has five beds but can sleep up to six people and the Stevens family are installing a shower in its last remaining cell.

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Mr Stevens’ son, also called Robert, 30, said: "We have been going all over the place in it, from Scotland to Milton Keynes.

"We even take it to the away matches.

"Despite a transformation inside, the van remains unchanged on the outside,attracting lots of comments from passers-by.

"People make comments all the time, I think they can be quite surprised when they see a prison van parked outside our house.

"Even the police have been to ask what it is. I think they were curious about how we got it."

Both father and son are motor racing fans and go to events across the country in their holiday home, taking 11-year-old grandson and son, also called Robert, with them.

Stewart Vine, from Newcastle, last year set up a barber shop in the back of the decommissioned prison van he bought.

His business, Clipperdy Doo-Dah, targeted people who live in remote areas or were too busy to visit a barber.

The van, which once held four prisoners, had two barbers' chairs, a waiting area and a television.

Fleets of prison vehicles were decommissioned in January last year after new contracts were awarded to private firms GEOAmey and Serco to provide security services.