A letter was delivered to puzzled bosses at Belle Vale Shopping Centre in Liverpool from the thief, who decided to finally come clean.
The letter said: “I stole two bars of chocolate from Woolworths in 1975, when I was a little boy.
“I apologise, I didn't know any better here's the money I owe you for them."
Tucked inside the letter was a £5 note to cover the cost of the stolen treats.
Woolworths is no longer in business so the shopping centre is donating the money to Zoe’s Place baby hospice, the Liverpool Echo reported.
A spokesman said: "In a time of division, it is great to see an act of kindness that restores faith in humanity.
"Belle Vale Shopping Centre wants to thank the sender and acknowledge his apology. It is a positive message that is worth sharing to encourage all to be kind."
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