Japanese police, who arrested a 55-year-old man for stealing women's underwear from an apartment balcony, have raided his home to find 4,000 pairs of knickers.

Police say the underpants have been collected over 30 years.

Local reports say the man, from the western Japan city of Hiroshima, has confessed to stealing the items.

"I love women's underwear and could not control my desire," he was quoted as saying by the private Fuji television network.

The fetishist's run came to an end when the husband of one of his unsuspecting victims caught him on his balcony allegedly preparing to add to his stash

Police say they have confiscated the 4,000 objects of the man's desire.