updated 7/8/2009 2:37:32 PM ET 2009-07-08T18:37:32

A British man who arrived at a Spanish airport on Wednesday after having too much to drink was taken into custody — not for bad behavior but for being too generous.

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Turns out the tourist had recently received an inheritance, and he had started to give away $72,285 he was carrying in cash and travelers checks.

Spain's Interior Ministry said people at Son Sant Joan Airport in Palma de Mallorca first alerted police because the disheveled man "looked like a tramp" and "had a disagreeable smell."

Police determined he was giving away thousands of euros, without realizing what he was doing.

"Having arrived at the airport terminal he began handing out cash while laughing," a ministry statement said.

The ministry said the man — identified as James B.N., from Manchester, England — was taken in custody and soon persuaded to put his wallet away and fly home.

The British Foreign Office was informed but consular officials did not have to intervene to coax the 59 year-old man back aboard a return flight.

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