A family have been left heartbroken after their possessions and grandson's toys were destroyed after their motorhome was ransacked and destroyed.

Victoria and Darren Smith, aged 48 and 53, from Sunderland, spoke of their devastation after their family's motorhome was vandalised and burned out at a private car park in the Roker Terrace area of Sunderland.

The Northern Echo: Charlie (L), Victoria, Darren (R)Charlie (L), Victoria, Darren (R) (Image: Victoria Smith)

Northumbria Police said it was reported that at some point between 10am on September 23 and 12pm on September 25, offenders broke into a motorhome and attempted to start the vehicle.

They said the culprits started a fire inside the motorhome after being unable to start it, and a full investigation into the incident has been launched.

Read more: Lollipop man injured after Bede Road, Barnard Castle 'hit and run'

The Northern Echo:

Mrs Smith said she was distraught after belongings inside the motorhome were strewn out across the van and burned - including the toys of her three-year-old grandson Charlie.

“We just want to give him the best life.

“They took the radio, took whatever else they wanted and just set fire to it. How can they do something like that?

The Northern Echo:

“Our little grandson is 3 now, the baby's toys were in there, personal items, they’ve ripped all the cupboards out.

“The front, everything was melted, and you couldn’t get into anything to find out what was in the cupboards, but everything else was smoke-damaged.

“I tried to save things because I don’t want to feel like they’ve taken everything from us.”

The Northern Echo:

Read more: Suspected sexual assault in Darlington town centre

The Northern Echo:

She added they discovered their vehicle had been damaged shortly after returning from holiday and noticing the windows and curtains were blackened.

Her husband found that the motorhome’s door had been broken and upon opening the passenger, saw the extent of the damage.

She said the ignition had been “ripped” out, clamps for a tyre and steering wheel had been cut off, and the radio was stolen.

Mrs Smith said the couple would sleep in the motorhome to provide beds for their daughter and grandson.

The Northern Echo:

She said this had left her shaken in the event they had been in the motorhome at the time of the incident.

Her grandson was left in tears as the vehicle was taken away on Monday (October 2).

She believes the thieves destroyed the motorhome in retaliation after they were unable to start the vehicle.

Their insurance has not been an issue for this incident and has offered a £1,000 reward to find the culprits.

Fighting through tears, she said: “If anybody could find any leads to catch these people, that’s all I can afford”

This follows on from the family's self-build campervan being stolen from a private car park in November last year.

The Northern Echo:

Read next:

Get more news, politics and entertainment coverage from The Northern Echo with a subscription. Click here.

The Northern Echo:

Mrs Smith said the family were left £10,000 out of pocket due to being unable to claim on the insurance after the MOT had expired.

The MOT was not renewed as they were going to sell the vehicle to friends living in London and renew the service in January.

Anyone with information can contact police via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of Northumbria Police’s website quoting crime number 120410H/23.

You can see the extent of the damage below:

The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo: