Thankfully, no-one was injured, as the two police officers working from the van were at an address in the area. A local street warden saw the van on fire and called police around 7.10pm and Cleveland Fire Brigade attended to put out the blaze.
He said: “This is a shocking and disgusting attack on an emergency services vehicle, which now has to be taken off the road, impacting the service we provide to the public and at a cost of thousands to the public purse.
“I cannot fathom why anyone would decide to set fire to one our vehicles, our officers and staff are all leaving their families to deliver a service on the frontline during these unprecedented times. They are just as concerned as everyone else about what is happening, and are having to adapt to changes in their home and working lives as keyworkers.
“I’m thankful that no-one was physically injured, but it has shocked my teams that someone or a group of people would stoop this low. I hope the community supports us in trying to find out who is responsible for this arson as we appeal for further information as part of our investigation.”
Detectives will be speaking to local residents and looking at CCTV in the area, and are asking for anyone with private CCTV or dashcam footage to come forward. Anyone with information is asked to call Cleveland Police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference 20059375. Anonymous reports can also be given to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.