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Worker punched in face trying to stop thief

An employee has been punched in the face, while trying to stop a man stealing items from a Cairns Esplanade store.

Police say a man entered the business at 11:20pm on Saturday night, before allegedly stealing items and trying to hide them under his clothing.

A 33-year-old, male worker confronted the man as he tried to leave the store, calling out for him to stop.

That's when the man allegedly turned towards the employee and punched him in the face, before running off.

Police located a 20-year-old Woree man about 20 minutes later.

He was arrested and later charged with one count each of robbery, unlawful possession of suspected stolen property and stealing.

He is scheduled to appear at the Cairns Magistrates Court on July 5.