Would-be robber in Australia thwarted by chilli

SYDNEY (AFP) - A quick-thinking worker at a takeaway food store in Sydney has stopped an attempted robbery by throwing a bucket of chilli at a would-be thief, leaving him with minor burns, Australian police said on Monday.

New South Wales state police said a man walked into the store on Sunday and ordered some food, but then argued with staff over payment and walked behind the counter and attempted to open the cash register.

The man struck the female worker across the chest as she tried to stop him from getting to the money, police alleged, before she resorted to throwing the chilli in his face.

"It appears that she's just fought back with whatever was close at hand," Inspector Ralph Deans told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"As you can imagine with a face full of chilli, he's received some burns to his face, and he was quite red-faced at the time police arrived to arrest him." The 24-year-old was charged with assault with intent to rob.