ROME (AFP) - A bag of presents stolen from a Father Christmas in Rome has been returned with an apologetic note from the thieves after the victim made an impassioned appeal, Il Messaggero daily reported on Thursday. 'We're sorry. We made a mistake. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!' read the scrawled note left by the bag with 1,000 euros (S$1,680) worth of presents that were stolen on Christmas Eve but were found still in their wrapping. The gifts were taken at a Christmas market on picturesque Piazza Navona in the city centre where local businessman Giorgio Abbruzzese - dressed in a paunchy red costume and flowing white beard - has been a feature for years. 'With great joy and surprise, we discovered that even thieves have a heart,' said Mr Abbruzzese, 51, who is planning to make a special appearance at the market in January to hand out the returned gifts to children.