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Man reunited with boat thanks to marine community

A man has been reunited with his cherished boat a year after it was stolen thanks to Dorset Police’s Marine Section and the marine community.

Paul Davis was devastated when his 18-foot Poole Canoe was taken from Poole Harbour in July 2012.

It was a unique boat, having been hand-built by a late friend’s father almost 20 years ago.

Last month, October 2013, officers from Dorset Police’s Marine Section were informed that people sleeping on their boat at Poole Yacht Club had disturbed offenders who made off in a blue Poole Canoe, which was later recovered empty by Poole Harbour Commissioners.

Police Constable Kevin Hoff and colleague Police Constable Bruce Murdoch carried out an investigation and, after speaking with Poole Harbour Watch, made contact with Mr Davis about the possibility his boat may have been found.

It was not the same boat but subsequent enquiries with the port revealed that a similar boat had been recovered 12 months earlier at the request of land police following an incident on the water.

PC Hoff said: “Mr Davis immediately recognised his boat and was virtually speechless with joy.

“The excellent working relationship that exists between Dorset Police Marine Section, Poole Harbour Commissioners and Poole Harbour Watch has resulted in a victim being reunited with his highly cherished boat more than a year after it was stolen.”

No arrests have been made.

Paul Davis, 42, who lives in Poole, said: “I used to see it all the time and really admired it. When my friend’s father decided to get a bigger one and put it up for sale, I bought it.

“I reported the theft to the police and, although I never expected to see it again, I continued to search for it.

“I was totally taken by surprise when I received the phone call to say it had been found. I was really pleased with the excellent work by the marine police.”

David Butcher, chairman of Poole Harbour Watch, said: “We network with Dorset Police regularly so that the details of anything that is stolen is circulated in the hope that it may jog someone’s memory.

“I know that Mr Davis was over the moon his boat had been recovered.”

ISSUED: 6 November 2013