A thief has taken advantage of two cruise ships docking in Napier over the weekend, by attempting to snatch a woman's handbag on Emerson St.

A police spokeswoman said police were notified about the theft shortly after 12.30pm on Sunday.

"Her bag was later found and it doesn't look like anything was taken from the bag."

She said they had searched the area and the suspect was not located.

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"The women has not made a complaint to the police."

Napier City Business Inc manager Zoe Barnes said "whilst this behaviour is not acceptable whatsoever, it is by no means common place in Napier CBD."

"Unfortunately the bad decisions of a few can often have a lasting effect, however in this case we believe Napier CBD remains a safe and welcoming place to visit and shop, and we look forward to having both locals and tourists alike in the city in the lead-up to Christmas."