Irish property tycoon Kevin McGeever has admitted he was not kidnapped by armed men and held captive in a shipping container for eight months.

The 68-year-old has told police that he spent the time in a remote cottage in the west of Ireland and purposefully lost weight to make his story more believable.

McGeever was found wandering down a country road confused and emaciated at the end of January.

He told police he had been abducted and held captive for a ransom, and was starved and threatened with death during his period of captivity. Rumours emerged that the IRA or the Russian mafia could be involved.

However, last week police arrested McGeever for wasting police time and making false allegations. He eventually admitted his lies before being released from police custody.

It also emerged that McGeever has a history of going missing for long periods of time throughout his life.

According to the Irish Independent, a garda source said: "He apparently has a habit of going off and staying by himself in an isolated location for years. He would often disappear for months at a time. He said he likes the solitude."

After he was found on the country road near Ballinamore in County Leitrim, McGeever was taken to the police station and was then admitted to hospital suffering from malnutrition.

The Independent says McGeever told police he was under a great amount of financial pressure so came up with the kidnapping plan.

He thought investors would leave him alone for fear of being implicated in his abduction.

Grew beard and fingernails

McGeever put his car into storage and hired two people to drive him to his remote hideaway. He grew his beard and fingernails and ate sparsely to lose weight.

After eight months, McGeever became bored and was worried about his seriously ill girlfriend, Siobhan O'Callaghan's condition.

He prepared to return by writing 'thief' on his forehead in permanent ink and was then driven to Ballinamore. He wandered the country road until he was picked up by some passing motorists.

McGeever's plan backfired when Catherine Vallely insisted on taking him to the police station, where he faced questioning by officers on many occasions. He also said he had not anticipated the level of media attention.

Police said a file is now being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.