POLICE have appealed for help to identify three men after the alleged attempted theft of a boat in Poole.

An elderly boat owner spotted people on his boat as he was driving along Banks Road in Poole at 6.45pm on Wednesday July 3.

The man, in his 70s, went to the North Haven Yacht Club for help and was assisted by club members getting out to his boat, which is moored 300 metres off the shore.

Three men claimed they had jumped on to the boat because they were worried about the tide.

But they immediately jumped off and started wading back to shore. They then made off over the sand dunes.

The owner later found a paddle from his boat in a small grey dinghy, which had been used by a fourth man who joined the others,

Nothing else appeared to have been taken but there was possible damage to the ignition barrel.

Police Constable Scott Thorne, of Poole police, said: “We are making enquiries into this incident and I am releasing these images of photos that were taken of the three men who were seen on the boat.

“I would urge anyone with information as to their identity to contact us and would also encourage these men to come forward so we can take your account.”

Information to Dorset Police on 101 or the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.