VICTORIA -- Mounties in Campbell River say they are investigating a bizarre incident in which a man was deliberately set on fire while sleeping outside. 

Investigators were called to an area near the river and the Brick store parking lot at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, after local fishermen found a 20-year-old Campbell River man suffering severe burns to his back.

The victim was taken to hospital for treatment with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.

RCMP major crimes and forensic identification units believe the man was deliberately set on fire while sleeping on an island under the highway overpass bridge sometime in the early morning.

Police say the man shed his burned clothing and made his way to the parking lot where the fishermen found him.

Police say some of the man's possessions had also been taken from the area.

Campbell River bridge

"Setting someone on fire is truly an egregious offence," said Const Maury Tyre in a statement Wednesday.

"Nobody, no matter what their situation in life, deserves to be treated in such a horrendous manner," Tyre said. "We at the Campbell River RCMP intend to use our resources to locate the individual/individuals responsible for this incident and hold them legally accountable. We truly wish this young man a speedy recovery."

Police are looking to speak with anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has information about it. The Campbell River RCMP can be contacted at 250-286-6221.