According to Pompeii’s archaeological superintendent Massimo Osanna the site has received around 100 packages returning stolen relics in recent years. According to Osanna many of these are accompanied by letters indicating that the thief is returning the artefact because they believe that the artefact has brought them nothing but bad luck.

Some returns are simply the result of of a guilty conscience on the part of the person who stole the relic in the first place, a recent incident saw a mosaic tile stolen in the 1970s returned by an Englishwoman whose parents had stolen the tile whilst on holiday.

The superintendent is considering using the letters as the centrepiece for a future exhibition. This comes as four French tourists (three brothers and a sister) were arrested and charged with aggravated theft after being caught with pieces of plaster from 2000 year old frescoes in their backpacks.