Hot Pepper Shoplifter: Marcus Banwell Gets Caught After Vomiting Looted Vegetables

08/23/2012 01:02 pm ET | Updated Aug 23, 2012

Shoplifter Marcus Banwell might have gotten away with stealing from a UK convenience store -- if he hadn't chowed down on some looted hot peppers in the store and started vomiting.

Banwell had consumed at least one Scotch Bonnet pepper at the Singh Store in Bristol, and soon began coughing and vomiting. The pepper is extremely hot with 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units, which dwarfs most jalapeño peppers, which have 2,500 to 8,000.

The shop owner noticed Banwell in pain and followed him outside, where police arrested him after finding a number of items on his person: another four chilli peppers in his pocket, a stolen milkshake and fruit juice. A clarinet was also found tucked inside his waistband; it was missing from a local music shop.

They also found crack cocaine and heroin, which will likely have more serious consequences than the peppers. Banwell has pleaded guilty to stealing from three shops over three months, receiving stolen goods, violating his licence from a previous jail term, and possessing Class A drugs.

A prosecutor for the case said Banwell had been named in 43 theft-related offenses since 1989.

Photo by Flickr user aurélien.

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