A SERIAL sex offender whose crimes date back decades has breached an order designed to keep children safe.

Peter Ambrose, who has to follow strict rules to allow police to check on him, was caught by a monitoring officer with an unregistered mobile phone.

The 65-year-old is not allowed to have a mobile phone unless he registers it with his monitoring officer, but it was discovered on June 1 this year that he had bought a new one after cracking his previous phone screen.

Ambrose has a host of previous convictions, including sexual offences in the 1970s, crimes involving indecent images of children in 2009, and failed to comply with previous court orders in 2012 and 2014.

Ambrose appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Friday, dressed in a black coat, grey shirt and blue baseball cap before admitting the breach.

He remained stoney faced during the hearing and showed little emotion as his crimes were read out.

Josh Scouller, prosecuting, said: “The defendant broke his previous phone when he was out shopping. He dropped it when he was in an escalator.

“He took it to get repaired but was told that it would cost £150, and he could buy a new phone for around £170.

“When his monitoring officer found it, he said that he had been meaning to tell police but it had slipped out of his mind.

“There were no indecent images of any kind found on the phone.”

In mitigation the court heard it was an accident and no more indecent pictures had been found.

Recorder Stuart Trimmer QC chose to give Ambrose, of Curling Tye, Basildon, a rehabilitation order.

Addressing him, he said: “You have had sexual offences since 1972, offences for indecent photos in 2009.

“You were given a sexual harm and prevention order in 2009, and then you have offences for failing to comply in 2012 and 2014, and now this failing to comply.

“But you have in your favour that since 2014 there has been no other failings to comply.

“It is important for you to comply with these orders as it helps to prevent others from accessing such devices to use for harm.”

As the breach was minor, Ambrose received 60 hours rehabilitation to complete within 12 months and also a £85 victim surcharge and walked free from court.

The order will continue.