Police say a man has been arrested for stealing men's sweaty gumboots because he liked the smell and had hundreds of stolen boots at home and a diary detailing his thievery at factories, supermarkets and schools.

Hiroyuki Kamio, 53, was arrested after he was caught on CCTV allegedly stealing two pairs of white gumboots from a chicken meat factory in the Japanese capital city of Tokyo and riding off on his bicycle with them.

But officers could not believe their eyes when they searched his flat and found another 271 rubber boots, as well as 17 bags of rubber gloves and seven rubber aprons, all
packed in plastic bags to preserve their smell.

via GIPHY

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They also seized a diary in which Kamio had allegedly listed his crimes from 21 primary schools, 16 middle schools and 15 factories, as well as supermarkets, sushi restaurants, a retirement home and even a hospital.

The diary actually suggested the full haul was even bigger, listing a total of 352 rubber boots, 30 bags of rubber gloves and 14 rubber aprons.

The man had been obsessed with rubber since childhood. Photo / File
The man had been obsessed with rubber since childhood. Photo / File

The alleged boot snatcher explained the discrepancy to cops by saying he checked the smell of everything he stole and discarded those with no odour, saying: "I like the smell of the working man."

Police originally nabbed Kamio because they had been keeping an eye on the factory, in the Adachi Ward of the city, after a series of raids in which 12 pairs of rubber work boots had been stolen.

Hiroyuki Kamio went in boots and all. Photo / Asiawire
Hiroyuki Kamio went in boots and all. Photo / Asiawire

But they now believe he had been far busier than anyone had suspected. Cops believe Kamio's motive was a sexual fetish.

He reportedly told officers he had been obsessed with the smell of rubber since childhood and had been stealing boots and protective clothing since the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.