AN investigation has been launched after a car was burnt out next to a Westcliff pub.

Firefighters from Southend were called just after 5am today after the X-reg black Mercedes went up in flames outside the Park Tavern in London Road.

It is believed to be an arson attack as the car had not been used in six days and there was no obvious cause.

The intense heat from the fire caused paint to peel off the side of the pub.

Crews used breathing apparatus to get close to the blaze and used one hose to extinguish it.

It took about half an hour to put out.