A BOAT was found abandoned in a village on the A350 on Monday after being stolen.

Residents of Spetisbury heard a loud "scraping" sound at around 8.30pm and emerged from their homes to find the motorboat lying on the road, its outboard motor having gouged a scar in the tarmac.

The incident occurred at the junction of Crawford Bridge and the A350.

Meanwhile other villagers located the trailer the boat had been carried on, also abandoned, some 200 metres down the road in the direction of Poole.

"We can only assume that it was stolen, the trailer didn't have any lights on it and it looked like the boat had been very poorly secured," said resident Bernie Ward, 59.

"We heard scraping, like tyres turning on gravel. But then we thought it was a bit louder than that, so we had a look out the window and, of course, we could see this boat in the middle of the road."

Mr Ward said he was initially surprised there was no one around the boat, assuming it had fallen off the owner's trailer.

"The boat seemed to have sustained more damage than the road, which is unusual for the A350," he said.

"The police waited a couple of hours for the recovery people to show up before picking the boat up, it seemed to be quite a difficult operation."

Mr Ward said the registration plate on the boat suggested it had come from Bridport.

"I don't know what the people who took it were doing around here," he said. "Perhaps they were trying to avoid detection on the unlit roads."

Dorset Police said the owner of the boat had been found and an investigation had been launched into the circumstances of the incident. The force also confirmed that the boat had been stolen.