POLICE have launched an arson investigation after a blaze broke out at a Hampshire van centre.

Residents described seeing “billowing black smoke” at the scene of the incident that took place sometime between 12.50pm and 2.30pm at the Vansco Centre in Romsey Road, in Cadnam, on Sunday.

Seven crews from Redbridge, Lyndhurst, Romsey and Eastleigh attended the scene of the blaze at around 1pm.

Significant damage was caused at the site.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: “It was reported to us that two cars were alight at the rear of the garage.

“The fire then spread to other vehicles and a workshop, causing significant damage.

“No injuries were reported.

“The incident is being treated as arson and an investigation is underway.

“We are keen to hear from anyone with information on what took place.

“Were you in the area at the time? Perhaps you were driving past the garage at the time and have dashcam footage?

“Or do you live nearby and have private CCTV footage that could help our investigation?”

Residents told the Echo of their shock at seeing the fire.

Lynden Bowen, 62, who lives opposite the van sales centre said: “I came out of the house and all I could see was billowing smoke and it was getting darker and darker.

“I can’t believe how many engines there were.

“In the thirty years I have lived here nothing like this have ever happened.”

Derek Tippetts, 71, a local resident added: “I was in my back garden and I thought at first someone was having a bonfire.

“I came out and saw a big black cloud of smoke and there was a rubbery smell.

“This could have been potentially very dangerous as the cars in the building could have had fuel in them.”

A Totton resident, 70, who was passing by, said: “I could see the smoke from Cadnam Road.

“When we saw it we knew it was going to be serious.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting the crime reference number 44190163561.

Alternatively, people can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where information can be left anonymously.