A FIFTH of criminals in Dorset went on to reoffend within the space of just one year, figures have revealed.

Data from the Ministry of Justice shows 1,584 adults were released from prison, cautioned or handed a non-custodial conviction at court between July 2019 and June 2020 in Dorset.

Of them, 344 (21.7 per cent) committed at least one further crime within 12 months.

A year previously, 24.7 per cent of 2,086 convicted criminals reoffended.

Between them, the 344 reoffenders racked up 1,205 new offences, an average of 3.5 each.

However, the MoJ warned some prolific criminals might appear multiple times in the figures for one year if they repeatedly reoffend, which could lead to an increase in reoffending rates.

It added there might be more volatility in the data because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the criminal justice system.

Around one in five fraud offenders reoffended within a year of their release or conviction in the year to June 2020, compared to just 13.9 per cent in the year to June 2010, when these figures began.

This rise was the second biggest of all types of crime, behind violent offences.

In Dorset, five out of 21 fraud offenders broke the law again.

Cifas, a not-for-profit fraud prevention membership organisation, said fraud can have a "devastating impact on victims".

Amber Burridge, head of fraud intelligence for Cifas, said: "The findings from a Victims’ Commissioner report in October 2021 shows that 1 in 5 fraud victims are highly vulnerable having lost money or property and experienced severe or multiple emotional reactions such as anxiety or depression.

In Dorset reoffending rates were highest for public order offences, at 41.7 per cent.

A government spokeswoman said: “Reducing reoffending is one of our top priorities which is why an extra £550 million will be invested over the next three years to rehabilitate offenders and protect the public.

“We’re also spending £400m to tackle economic crime and developing a new strategy to clampdown on the devastating impact fraud can have on victims.”