A BOURNEMOUTH man has been jailed for vehicle theft offences across Bournemouth and Poole.

Matthew Stephen Gale, 32 from Poole, was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court to four years in prison for six theft offences that took place between April 16 and July 7, 2022.

One of Gale's victims knew the defendant from when he had previously worked at a garage in Poole.

In April 2022, the victim contacted Gale to carry out work on his Subaru Impreza.

The victim made payments of £340 up front for the work but, despite repeated delays and attempts to contact Gale, he did not return the vehicle.

The victim was subsequently told on Sunday, June 12, 2022, the vehicle had ‘gone missing’.

The car was located by officers on Sunday, August 28, 2022, at another address in Poole.

One of Gale's victims had contacted him via Facebook in May 2022 after being recommended his services and arranged for bodywork repairs to be carried out on her Peugeot 207.

Gale asked for £900 up front for the work and collected the vehicle from her, stating it would take around two weeks to complete.

The victim paid the money but after three weeks she contacted Gale and was met with a range of excuses as to why the work had not been done.

After contacting the police and making her own enquiries, the vehicle was subsequently found at Newtown Business Park in Poole and appeared to be in a worse state than when it had gone off to be repaired.

Another incident involved a man who advertised a red Mercedes Sprinter van for sale on Facebook Marketplace.

In June 2022, the defendant attended his address and verbally agreed to buy the vehicle, which was advertised for £5,995.

He asked to test drive the vehicle, before driving off in it and failing to return. The victim made efforts to contact Gale but was met with a range of excuses as to why he was unable to return it.

He subsequently reported the theft to police and the vehicle has still not been located.

Detective Constable Steven Davis, of BCP CID, said: “We are committed to holding offenders such as Gale to account for their criminal activity and we have worked hard to compile evidence to bring before the court so he could face the consequences of his actions.”