A BUSINESSMAN who lost a month's earnings when a thief broke into his car has offered a reward to anyone who helps catch the criminal.

Daren Antell, who owns a hair salon in Moordown, was walking his dogs in Meyrick Park at around 4.30pm on Saturday when his car was raided.

A bag containing around £5,000 in cash and cheques was stolen. His work diary, which contains all appointments for the month, has also gone.

Daren said: "I'd been at work that day.

"When I came home, my partner and our children weren't there and it was clear the dogs hadn't been walked yet.

"I thought I'd better walk them before it got too dark, so we got straight back in the car and went to the park.

"The bag with the takings inside was under a coat in the back seat. I just forgot it was there because it was a break in routine - usually, I wouldn't have had it in the car."

Mr Antell said he had been walking with his dogs for just three minutes when he heard a window shattering and an alarm sounding.

"I suddenly remembered the bag was there, but it was too late," he said.

"It's very dark indeed. I could see a figure but by the time I got back to the car, they were long gone.

"I just didn't know what to do at all."

Much of the money Mr Antell lost was in cash. However, he said some customers had left him blank cheques.

"My name is spelled with just one 'r' and sometimes it's easier for customers if I fill my name in," he said.

"I also lost my work diary, which had everything in it."

Mr Antell and his family have since searched the area. They discovered the windows of at least three more cars parked nearby had also been smashed.

"We've found the bag, although there was nothing in it except a photograph and a pen," Mr Antell said.

"I spotted a big pile of letters and realised they were my bank statements.

"It's been terrible. We haven't yet found anything else.

"It feels like the person who did this was waiting for me."

He has now offered a reward of £1,000 to anyone who provides information to the police which leads to a successful prosecution.

"You can't insure cash - it's a whole month of earnings," he said.

"We'll make do but our children will have a lesser Christmas as a result of this."

A spokesperson from Dorset Police said there is not currently believed to be any CCTV footage.

However, extra patrols are being carried out and residents are reminded to be vigilant and never leave cash or valuables in their cars.

To speak to police, call 101 or visit dorset.police.uk