A ticket seller at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo gave away free tickets to foreigners over the course of two years, costing the attraction more than 25 million yen ($222,000/ £174,000/€196,000).

The Japanese man in his 70s reportedly said he had a fear of speaking to overseas tourists after being shouted at by one a number of years ago, local media reported.

Due to this fear, he let more than 160,000 tourists into the Tokyo tourist attraction for free between 2014 and 2016.

In December 2016, a colleague alerted management about his “strange ways” and he was brought in to be questioned.

He then admitted he had not been taking any money from foreigners for tickets, which cost 200 yen ($1.80) for adults and 50 yen for children. He said he was uncomfortable asking them for money.

“I don’t speak any other language and I got scared when a foreigner began yelling at me a long time ago,” the man said by way of explanation, according to SoraNews24.

The Ministry of Environment launched an investigation and it was discovered he was issuing tickets then cancelling them to level out the database.

He reportedly asked another employee who handled the data, to undo the sales, SoraNews24 said.

The losses have been found to total at least 25 million yen, following an audit.

The man was given a 10 per cent reduction of his monthly salary, but has since resigned, and offered to pay half of his retirement bonus in an attempt to reimburse the garden.

Image: Kakidai