A MAN believed to be homeless has seen his car go up in flames in a suspected arson attack.

Firefighters were called to the fire engulfing a Hyundai Coupe parked near St Luke's church in Stanmore at around 1.30am Wednesday morning.

The car owner, who is thought to have been sleeping rough in the vehicle, was not present when the fire started but returned as the crew from Winchester tackled the flames with a hose reel and two breathing apparatus.

Watch manager Mark Compton said the fire was thought to have been deliberately started. "There was a strong smell of petrol around the car. Whether that was within the car was hard to tell."