An elderly Whanganui couple holidaying on the South Island will have no home to return to thanks to arsonists who destroyed it.
The couple in their 70s had lived in their Mosston Road home for more than 40 years but around 4am this morning it was vandalised and then set alight.
Although some personal items have been salvaged, the concrete stucco building has been completely destroyed along with the majority of the couple's belongings.
Detective Constable Aaron Bunker: "We are obviously in the very early stages of the investigation but it is already apparent that windows have been smashed in the property before it was set alight. It is a despicable act that will have a huge and lasting impact on the couple who lived there."
A detailed examination of the scene has been carried out involving Police and the Fire Service. Enquiries are now ongoing to identify witnesses and to establish who might be behind the fire and if there is any reason why this particular house might have been targeted.
Early enquiries have suggested that a motorbike or motorbikes were heard in the area around the time of the fire that may or may not be connected.
Police want anyone with information that might be relevant to the investigation to contact Detective Aaron Bunker at Whanganui Police on 06 349 0600.
The owners have been made aware of the fire but have yet to see the extent of the damage. They are very private people and at this stage wish to be left alone to come to terms with the news.