A VAN enthusiast whose vintage VW burst into flames is hoping to get it back in order for more beer deliveries ahead of the World Cup.

Ben Yates, from Park View Road in Hove, drove his “beer response unit” van around Brighton before England’s match against Italy in the European Championships on July 11 last year.

The 46-year-old described the moment he witnessed a “loud bang, screeching noise and plume of smoke” while taking the 1968 Volkswagen, called Creamie, for a test drive.

He is hoping to have the van back running again before England’s World Cup journey starts in Qatar in December.

The Argus: Creamie on fire in Park View Road, HoveCreamie on fire in Park View Road, Hove

He said: “We had just fitted this engine, it was out on its first test drive after having a newly refurbished engine installed. It was actually an electrical fire that caused it.

“I heard a loud bang and a screeching noise and then a large plume of smoke while driving right by Hove Park. I was just going home for a cup of tea, I got to the bottom of the road and realised it was on fire.

“We tried to extinguish it with our own fire extinguisher but it wasn’t enough. It supressed it a bit.

The Argus: East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service after putting the fire outEast Sussex Fire and Rescue Service after putting the fire out

“It’s a bit frustrating, it’s our ‘shop truck’ that we have had for years that does lots of work for us.

“These things do happen when running old vans.”

Ben uses the van as a run-around for hisVW restoring business Nutjob. The fire happened on Monday, May 9 at around 2.10pm.

He added: “People may recognise it, we were running through town before the Euro final doing a beer response unit! Hopefully we can have it back up and running for the World Cup.

The Argus: The beer vans before the Euro final last summerThe beer vans before the Euro final last summer

“We’re hoping to have it back on the road by the end of May, it is salvageable. The van itself is okay, a little bit smouldered but the engine has completely melted.

“I wanted to say thanks to the fire brigade for limiting the damage to it too.”

An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “We were called at 2.10pm on May 9 to attend Park View Road, Hove following reports of a vehicle fire. 

“Firefighters from Hove attended.  On arrival, crews found one small vehicle alight and used one breathing apparatus, one hose reel and one in seven foam to extinguish the fire.  The cause of the fire was deemed accidental.”