Police and firefighters are investigating how a man came to die in a blazing van on the drive of a detached home in Valley Park.

His body was found on the front seats of a white Citroen Berlingo van in Donnington Drive early on Sunday morning.

Firefighters made the grim discovery as they battled the flames after being called out at around 5am.

Police officers and firefighters from Hampshire’s arson task force were called in and forensic officers in white protective clothing worked at the house for much of the day.

A tent covered the front end of the 03-registered van, which was parked partly on the drive and partly on the front lawn.

It is understood that the house is home to a retired couple in their 60s.

One neighbour saw the husband, who he only knew as Mr Singh, going into an ambulance at about 5.30am.

Police confirmed a man had been taken ill at the house but said it was not directly caused by the fire.

Steve Horscoft, of Calshot Drive, whose house is about 60 yards from the fire, said: “It was about 5am. I was awoken by really loud Indian music in a car. I assumed it was someone being dropped off, coming home from a party but the music was really, really loud.

“I heard the noise of doors being slammed and several voices and then all of a sudden there was something louder and my doors and windows shook, a mini-explosion of some sort.

“I looked and saw a plume of smoke and people in the back garden. Very soon after the fire brigade arrived and then the police closely after.”

Firefighters cut into the partially burnt-out vehicle to allow the body to be removed for a post-mortem at about 1pm.

A police statement released last night said: “The deceased has not been formally identified. At this time the cause of death is unexplained. It is not being treated as suspicious.”

A police spokesman said there had been no arrests in connection with the investigation.