A family has been left heartbroken after they were targeted by an arson attack that destroyed their two vehicles and left them picking up the pieces. 

The incident, which happened last Monday (August 21) at around 1.17am on Sydney Avenue East, near Linden Road, in Northallerton, saw the family's two cars set alight outside their home that spread to part of their home.

Both vehicles, a Citroen van and a Peugeot 508, were completely destroyed in the fire, but something of greater importance to the family was in one of the cars. 

Read more: Two cars deliberately set on fire in Northallerton

A specialist buggy belonging to their four-year-old son, who has autism, also went up in flames. 

The family, who only want to be identified through their surname of Thompson, say they were awoken in the early hours of last Monday to find smoke and flames coming from towards the front of their property. 

Police and the ambulance service were called to the scene, with a police cordon remaining in place for the remainder of the day.

North Yorkshire Police have confirmed that three people have been arrested in connection with the incident; a 15-year-old boy, a 29-year-old man, and a 20-year-old man.

The Northern Echo: The extent of the fire damage to the family's carThe extent of the fire damage to the family's car (Image: CONTRIBUTOR)

Pictures of the charred remains of the car have been shared by the family, which shows the level of destruction that the arson attack has caused.

While the insurance will cover both vehicles in the long term, according to those close to the family, concerns remain about replacing the specialist buggy. 

A fundraiser has been set up on behalf of the family to help them get back on their feet after the incident. 

After a Just Giving page was set up hours after the fire, it has already raised over £1000; surpassing the target of £500 it set out to achieve. 

The Northern Echo: A police cordon in place during the incident A police cordon in place during the incident (Image: CONTRIBUTOR)

Joe Stuart, a close friend of the family and the man who set up the fundraiser said that it was a "no-brainer" to try and help the Thompson family. 

He said: "The family are great, and don't deserve this happening to them. It's the last thing they need and I wouldn't know anyone that would want to do this.

"If it happened to anyone in the area, I'd have thought about setting up a fundraiser - but to a close friend, I always wanted to help however I could.

"A fundraiser is much better than passing over £10 or £20 in person, it can come across as patronising, but a fundraiser means that the community can rally around the family."

Alongside destroying the specialist buggy, the fire also burnt the children's car seats and a few other items.

Mr Stuart says he was left shocked by the incident but is surprised by the power of the Just Giving page and the amount that has been raised already. 

He added: "It has surpassed everything we wanted to achieve. If we would have got £300 for the family, I'd have been happy. 

"People really want to help, and if anyone is thinking of fundraising for something that has happened like this in their community - it can make a difference."

You can donate to the fundraiser here.

An investigation into the incident remains ongoing by police, and they have issued an appeal for witnesses.

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Detective Inspector Jill Cowling, from Northallerton CID, said: “This incident could have had very serious consequences. Thankfully on this occasion nobody was seriously injured.

“As part of the ongoing police investigation, I’m now appealing for anyone in the area around the time of the incident to come forward."

Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call officers on 101 and ask for Martin Willoughby, quoting incident number 12230157168.