A homesick and penniless German trying a cheap route home evaded security and tried to walk through the Channel Tunnel to France but was challenged by workers for not wearing a construction helmet and arrested, Dover police said Wednesday.

The German, identified only as a 24-year-old, was arrested at the Channel Tunnel complex about 500 yards inside the 31-mile tunnel between Folkestone and Calais late Tuesday afternoon, police said. He was taken to Dover police for questioning and later released without charge."I understand he was simply found walking through the Channel Tunnel trying to get back to Germany. At the end of the day it turns out he had commited no offense at all, so there was no reason for us to continue holding him," Dover Sgt. David Prescott said.

Police and security personnel for the tunnel builders searched for a possible bomb but none was found.

The Daily Express newspaper reported the man traveled 2 miles into the tunnel, but Eurotunnel spokesman Colin Kirkland said he believed "police were exaggerating." The Express quoted a police source saying the man "had no money and wanted to go home."

"Someone asked him why he wasn't wearing a helmet and when he didn't give the right answer he was collared. If he had a helmet he would have made it to France," the source said.