THE mother of a man missing after his dinghy capsized in Poole Harbour has spoken of her son with a “heart of gold”.

Fisherman Andrew Paul O’Neill was in the seven-foot tender with two other men when it went under in the harbour at around 10.15am on December 23.

The 33-year-old, who was born in Reading and has lived in Poole for a number of years, has not been seen since the incident, despite an extensive search.

Mum Maureen Rumbell, who now lives in Northern Ireland, said Mr O’Neill was supposed to be visiting her next month.

“On Facebook, he’s known as Crazy Digger,” she said.

“It’s just the nickname he’s been given. It stuck because he was forever digging for bait. It didn’t matter what the weather was doing, he’d be out there digging for worms. He took to fishing like a duck to water.”

Mr O’Neill, who has three brothers, has also lived in Bournemouth and London over the years.

He started his career as a fisherman by working part-time, but preferred it to any other job.

His mother said: “I found out on Sunday December 23, about 3pm.

“Honestly, it hasn’t sunk in yet. I last saw him about three years ago, but he was on the phone every day, texting or calling me. He has got a heart of gold – he’s a lovely man. He was worried about my health last year and he would forever be calling me to check I was alright.”

Police have appealed for any information about Mr O’Neill.

Mr O’Neill is 5ft 8in tall, and of slim build.

He has medium to dark brown hair, a bad scar on the back of his left hand, and a number of tattoos.

He also has a scar on his inner thigh from surgery as a baby.

To speak to police about this incident, call 101.