THIS is the message witless thieves left for an unsuspecting boat owner after they had stolen from him.

"You been robed" was left written on the ceiling of Tom Montgomery's sailing yacht after it had been ransacked while docked near Poole Harbour, the Daily Echo reports.

Sailing enthusiast Mr Montgomery, 37, who lives in Hertfordshire, discovered that his boat had been targeted earlier this week.

The 37ft sailing yacht was docked in the Wych Channel near Brownsea Island.

As well as the misspelt graffiti the offenders also caused damage to the hatch cover and stole around £2,000 worth of sailing gear.

According to Mr Montgomery this is the latest in a string of raids on vessels in Poole Harbour.

"I have heard of around 10 different thefts from boats around the area in the last month," added Mr Montgomery, who grew up in Poole.

"We are obviously being targeted so I want to make sure other boat owners are aware of what's going on so they can secure their vessels and make sure they remove any valuables from the boat."

As a result of the poorly written vandalism Mr Montgomery said he will need to replace the entire ceiling of the boat. The hatch cover will also need to be replaced due to damage.

"Luckily my insurance company has been brilliant but the cost of the equipment stolen and the damage is a couple of thousand pounds," he added.

"Hopefully these people are found and stopped before they do any more damage."

Police say they are investigating the incident but that so far no arrests have been made.

They have also issued a security checklist offering advice for the maritime community which includes not leaving anything loose on the deck and making sure valuables are kept in a strong, fixed locker.

Boat owners are also reminded to keep curtains closed so people can't look in and keep boat keys separate from engine keys.

And if the worst does happen to make sure they have an up-to-date list of serial numbers as well as pictures of the property so it can be easily identified if recovered.