OWNERS of a mobile fish and chip van have been left devastated after the business went up in flames.

The Village Chippy, which serves Bellingham, Wark, Otterburn and West Woodburn, has been taken off the road after it was destroyed by fire.

Husband and wife team Michael and Pamela Knowles were cooking in the van when it caught alight but both are unharmed.

Hexham Courant:

"It all happened so quickly", said Pamela. "We knew we just had to get out and it was up in flame within minutes.

"The main thing was to get the gas bottles disconnected and as far away from the van as possible, we were in a housing estate. It could have been a lot worse.

"We've been going 11 years and to stand back and watch it burn in front of you, was just unbelievable."

The couple has been overwhelmed by the support of the community, all asking what they can do to help.

Hexham Courant:

Back in February, when we asked our readers on social media the best fish and chips in the area, the popular van was recommended for its fresh fish, chips and peas.

Pamela said: "We've had so many messages from people and I've had some of them ring and say 'we're going to miss the fish and chips, but we're gong to miss you two more'.

"We have a really good relationship with all of them (customers), as well as knowing we're providing them with something they enjoy.

READ MORE: The best fish and chips in Hexham according to Courant readers

"We want to get back as quickly as possible and do what we do. It's our livelihood, it's a full-on four days but we enjoy it.

"We love our job, it isn't just about going and earning money, it's about serving the community and being there. These rural areas have got absolutely nothing 

"It was such a shock and disappointment for us but we will be back if we can be." 

Pamela said the couple, who left their jobs in a cafe and as a driver in 2012, were waiting to hear from the insurance about the extent of the damage to the van. 

A spokeswoman for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service said: “We received a call to report a vehicle on fire in Bellingham at 5.49pm on Tuesday, March 7.

“Two appliances were dispatched to the scene and it is not believed to be suspicious."