A MUGGING victim is offering a £10,000 reward after a family heirloom watch was snatched from his wrist in Bournemouth town centre.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was celebrating his 50th birthday at an Indian restaurant before he was grabbed and robbed on June 25, 2022.

The watch, a Patek Philippe Nautilus on a black strap, was gifted to the victim by his father just six weeks before he died and was meant to be passed down to his own son.

“I thought we were going to a restaurant in Westbourne, I would never have worn it if I had known we were going to Bournemouth,” said the victim.

The man was getting into a taxi in Stafford Road when the thief grabbed his wrist, snatched the watch and ran off down the road.

“I was getting in the taxi, when you think you’re safe, then they ran off down roads that didn’t have any cameras.

“I ran after him for half a mile before I was blocked by 10 to 12 youths who are pretending to help just to get in your way.”

He added: “It is meant to go to my son and I feel guilty.

“If I had ran faster if I had paid more attention he would still have his watch.”

Two years on and the man is trying one last time to recover the family heirloom with a huge £10,000 reward.

“If I do not do everything I can to get it back to the family I will not forgive myself.”

Following failures in their investigation, Dorset Police have since apologised to the victim and have said lessons have been learned.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick, said: “Dorset Police have accepted that in this instance their level of service to [the victim] was not acceptable, and I agree that the efforts made by the Force on this occasion fell short of what the public would expect.

“The force has accepted their mistakes and quite rightly apologised to [the victim].”

Mr Sidwick said work under Project Evolve ensures that police resources are directed to where they are most needed.

“In my role as police and crime commissioner, I will continue to scrutinise the work of the Force on behalf of the public and ensure the highest levels of service are provided.”

Detective superintendent Steve May, of Dorset Police, said: “Dorset Police recognises the impact an incident such as this has on a victim and we will always look to carry out proportionate enquiries that are available to us.

“We understand that the watch stolen during this incident was a family heirloom and of great significance to the victim.

“Following the report, officers carried out enquiries to try and identify the offender, including making CCTV checks and comparing the suspect’s technique with similar incidents to identify a pattern.

“We acknowledge that there could have been more done in the early stages when this incident was reported to Dorset Police. Since this occurred in 2022, we have changed the process when an initial report is made so that the value of items stolen is now recorded.

“We have learnt from this incident and now strive to ensure that an assessment of a report made to the force is conducted initially and clear investigative direction is given from the outset.

“When we receive multiple reports of such high-value thefts, officers work with other forces who have experienced similar incidents and share intelligence as part of any ongoing enquiries to identify offenders and the onward movement of stolen items.

“As part of a wider drive to reduce crime in Bournemouth, we have a range of operations and initiatives in place to increase police visibility in the area. The dedicated Bournemouth Town Team sees neighbourhood officers working alongside colleagues at BCP Council and other agencies to tackle criminality and engage with residents, visitors and businesses.

“If any new lines of enquiry are identified in relation to this incident, we will follow them up and do all we can to reunite the victim with his watch. If you have any information about this incident that may help us, please get in touch quoting 55220101377.”

To claim the reward contact Dorset Police or the Bournemouth Echo.