A 61-year-old postman failed to deliver thousands of postal items that he kept at his home instead, police said Thursday.

About 24,000 undelivered items were found in the man's home in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, said the police, who sent his case to prosecutors.

"It was too much of a bother to deliver them," the man, whose identity has been withheld, was quoted by the police as telling investigators.

The papers sent to prosecutors specifically refer to 1,002 deliveries the man allegedly hid at his home and elsewhere between February 2017 and November last year.

A branch in Yokohama of Japan Post Co. said the man worked in charge of delivery and began hiding mail in 2003. He retired but had been re-employed at Seya Post Office in Yokohama when the incident came to light during an internal check on Nov. 20 last year.

The man admitted to the allegation, and Japan Post lodged a criminal complaint with the Kanagawa Prefectural Police on Jan. 14.

"We discovered them late as the cache was at his home, which is beyond the confines of an internal inspection," a branch spokesman said.

"We'll have talks with the police on the undelivered items and offer apologies to the senders and receivers as we deliver them," he said.

The company will provide workers with thorough instructions and do its best to prevent a recurrence, according to the spokesman.