A grocer had his ear bitten off by a hungry customer when he refused to let him have a free watermelon.

The Ukrainian man, not named for legal reasons, had demanded a watermelon at the shop in the Siberian town of Hanty Mansisk.

But when the shop assistant refused to hand over a fruit for free, he flew into a rage, jumped over the

counter and bit off his ear.

Police who caught the blood stained attacker minutes later have charged him with grievious bodily harm and theft, saying: "We couldn't find the ear, we think he ate it.