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Some people learn the hard way. A Canadian tourist who pilfered fragments from the ancient city of Pompeii 15 years ago has returned the artefacts, claiming they were “cursed”.

According to the Guardian, the woman, identified only as Nicole, sent a package containing two mosaic tiles, parts of an amphora and a piece of ceramics to a travel agent in Pompeii, in southern Italy, alongside a letter of confession.

Nicole, who was in her early 20s when she visited Pompeii’s archaeological park in 2005, blamed the theft for a run of misfortune that she had suffered in the years since, including having breast cancer twice and experiencing financial hardship.

“Please, take them back, they bring bad luck,” she wrote.

At the time of the theft, she said she wanted to have a piece of history that “nobody could have” but that the relics had “so much negative energy … linked to that land of destruction”.

The ancient site is one of Italy’s most visited attractions and for years has had to deal with the problem of tourists stealing from it.

Nicole wrote in her letter that she had learned her lesson and wanted “forgiveness from God”.

“I am now 36 and had breast cancer twice,” she said. “The last time ending in a double mastectomy. My family and I also had financial problems. We’re good people and I don’t want to pass this curse on to my family or children.”

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