A NOTORIOUS purse dipper who was last month reduced to tears when faced with one of his victims failed to turn up to court – telling prison guards he was sick.

Simon Ambler was due before Swindon Crown Court on Friday to be sentenced for his latest spate of thefts.

But the 41-year-old was a no-show. His absence was explained by a note from the prison that simply stated: “Sick”.

Ambler last month admitted five purse thefts. Those thefts, which resulted in him being recalled to prison on licence, were all committed over a 20 day period in August. He targeted elderly women in Sainsbury’s, Wilko, Aldi and the West Swindon library.

The thief was seen to dab his eyes as one victim called on Ambler to get the help he needed: “I have worked with troubled, damaged people and I am keen for them to get the help they need. The best outcome of all this would be breaking this vicious cycle.”

Judge Peter Crabtree adjourned sentencing Ambler to Thursday, December 5 at Swindon Crown Court.