Blaze destroys treasured cars

A BRAMPTON man has been left heartbroken after his collection of classic cars worth more than £100,000 perished in a suspicious fire on Friday night. James Handvey said he was still getting over the loss of his cars, including a rare 1960s Lincoln Con

A BRAMPTON man has been left heartbroken after his collection of classic cars worth more than £100,000 perished in a "suspicious" fire on Friday night.

James Handvey said he was still getting over the loss of his cars, including a rare 1960s Lincoln Continental Mark III, kept at his workshop near Grove Farm, off Graveley Road, in Offord D'Arcy.

The 29-year-old tree surgeon, who lives in rented accommodation, had been building up his car collection so that in a couple of years he could sell them and buy a house.

He said: "I have lost everything I have ever worked for. All the cars I lost were my pride and joy and were irreplaceable."


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Among the vehicles destroyed in Friday's fire were a 1971 Triumph GT6 Mark III, a Rover SD1, two VW camper vans and four vintage motorbikes. The collection was worth £115,000.

Mr Handvey had been enjoying an after-work drink in the Three Horseshoes, in Offord D'Arcy, when he heard his workshop was on fire.

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He said: "Some kids came running into the pub shouting that the barn was on fire.

"At first, I thought that maybe someone had set fire to a car and dumped it near the barn, but when I got up there I realised this was not the case."

Mr Handvey pulled open the doors of the barn and tried to rescue a tractor.

He said: "I had hoped that if I could get the tractor out of the barn I could use that to drag out the vehicles, but the blaze was too big and I couldn't get close enough."

Sixteen firefighters, including crews from St Neots, Huntingdon and Bedfordshire, were called to the blaze just after 9pm.

Explosions were heard and, what is believed to have been a welding bottle, flew through the roof of the barn and landed in a garden 150 metres away. Firefighters remained at the scene until 6.05pm the following evening.

Mr Handvey said: "All I could think of was years of hard work destroyed and pieces of history lost forever."

The Triumph had been Mr Handvey's first classic car purchase and had meant the most to him. "I held the Triumph close to my heart. Whenever I had any spare money I would use it to purchase another piece for the car. Now it is a charred mess, a horrific state and it breaks my heart."

Although two MG Rover BGTs were rescued from the blaze, Mr Handvey said the fire has put him off collecting classic cars.

"I have lost everything that was worth any money. All the cars I had dreamed of owning as a child and had collected over the last five years have been destroyed."

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said the incident was being treated as suspicious and had been passed to Cambridgeshire police to investigate.

INFORMATION: Anyone with information is asked to contact Cambridgeshire police on 0845 4564564 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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