Chile: Man arrested over glacier ice theft

media captionChilean police explain how they apprehended the alleged 'ice thief'

Police in the south of Chile have arrested a man on suspicion of stealing ice from the Jorge Montt Glacier.

Officials in the town of Cochrane found five tonnes of ice in the back of his truck.

Scientists say the glacier, in the Patagonia region, is retreating faster than any other in Chile.

Police suspect the ice was destined for the capital, Santiago, to make gourmet ice cubes for use in upmarket bars and restaurants.

The BBC's Gideon Long, in Santiago, says tourists in southern Chile are often served whisky chilled with glacial ice - which has an extra kudos because it comes directly from the glaciers.

According to El Mercurio, the driver is accused of theft, but prosecutors are also considering bringing charges under the national monuments act.

The paper says the ice found in the back of the vehicle was worth about 3 million pesos ($6,100; £3,900).

The shrinking glacier is in the Bernardo O'Higgins national park, the largest protected area in Chile.

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