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Tokyo -

A 34-year-old man was arrested for allegedly taking more than 3 000 items including underwear, clothes and precious metals from homes in evacuated areas near a stricken Japanese nuclear plant, news reports said on Friday.

The construction worker in Tamura city told local police he had committed about 100 counts of burglary this year in three towns near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, Fukushima Minpo newspaper reported.

The man often drove to the areas after work and sneaked into houses where nobody lives, the paper said.

Residents in the evacuated areas were forced to leave their homes due to radioactive contamination after the 2011 nuclear accident at the complex.

Police said 90 cases of burglary were reported in the evacuated zone this year and about 220 cases reported in 2013, the paper said. - Sapa-dpa