A GRIEVING family are heartbroken after a caravan containing the last mementos of a loved one was destroyed by park owners.

Carol Jones, 57, from Craylands, Basildon, wept when her beloved mobile home, on Thorney Bay Caravan Park, Canvey, was reduced to scrap metal after it was towed away and crushed because of overdue rent.

The owner of the caravan park said staff had tried to contact the family on numerous occasions without any success.

Ms Jones, who admits to owing hundreds of pounds in rent, having not paid the fees since February, claims she was given no opportunity to empty the caravan of her things before it was destroyed.

She claims it contained the last remaining belongings of her father, who died three years ago.

Choking back tears, Ms Jones said: “I am absolutely heartbroken this happened.

“It was my parents’ caravan, so it has been in the family for years. It had all my dad’s tools, clothes, and cardigans in it.

“Now I have nothing left of him. I am devastated they have done this.

“To other people these things may seem immaterial, but to me they are invaluable.

“I know I got behind on my payments, but I always do catch up.”

Ms Jones’s daughter, Lyndsay Morrell, 30, of Eastbrooks Place, Pitsea, was alerted to the caravan being towed away on Tuesday morning and contacted the company asking how much it would cost to be returned.

She claims she was asked to ring back in 45 minutes. When she did, she was told the caravan had been crushed.

She said: “My mum has been in tears over this. She had all these personal belongings in there.

“She used it pretty much every weekend. We were down there the other week. We never received any notice this was going to happen.”

Businessman Jeff King, who owns the park, claims the company wrote to and telephoned Ms Jones in May about coming to collect her things, but received no response.

He said it was part of an ongoing situation with the family for the past five years.

Mr King said: “We have been dealing with them for the past five years.

“Before it was towed, we sent them numerous letters and phoned them on May 16 saying if they didn’t come back to us we would be taking the caravan off site and scrapping it, which is within the law. They never bothered to get in touch with us to do anything about it until now.”