Page last updated at 11:01 GMT, Saturday, 8 November 2008

Thief sent 'sorry' letter to shop

The owner of an Indian food store in Bristol has received an apology letter and 100 from a former drug addict who stole cigarettes from the shop in 2001.

Imran Ahmed, 27, who runs Raja Foods in St Marks Road, Easton, said he was stunned to open the remorseful letter.

It begins: "Dear Sirs, I am writing this letter to make amends to you for something I have done in the past."

Mr Ahmed said the thief's change of heart was "really good" and he intends to give the money to a drugs' charity.

The thief's letter continues: "About seven years ago I was walking past your shop late one night when I noticed that someone had broken into it.

Make amends

"I used this opportunity to enter your shop where I stole 400 cigarettes. The money enclosed (100) is to pay for those cigarettes which I stole from you.

"At that time I was heavily using drugs and my life was in a mess, now I no longer use drugs and I strive to lead a decent and honest life.

"As part of my ongoing recovery I try to put right all of the wrongs I have done in the past, at least where I can, and this is why I am giving you back the money which I stole from you.

"I regret the harm I caused you in the past and I sincerely apologise to you for it.

"I was very wrong to do this and I hope that returning the money will make up for this harm, at least in some small way."

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