A cheeky penguin was filmed stealing stones from his neighbour’s nest.

Caught in the act by a BBC film crew, the male Adelie penguin can be seen grabbing stones from his neighbour’s nest every time the other penguin unknowingly waddles off to collect more stones.

Stones are used by the penguins to elevate and cover their eggs as protection from run-off ice melt in the harsh Antarctic climate.

Male penguins also use stones as a way to attract females, a commodity in a colony of 500,000 penguins.

Capturing the footage, shot for the BBC documentary Frozen Planet, required determination on the part of the crew, who spent four months on the frigid Ross Island.

“They’re only a foot and a half tall, so you have to get down to penguin level,” said director Jeff Wilson.

“So poor old Mark [the cameraman] was crawling around and there were Adelies constantly looking right down the barrel of his lens.”

In addition to the criminal penguin’s behaviour, Adelie penguins can be quite obnoxious in other ways: “[The colony is a] most aurally exhausting place. You’re bombarded with sound,” Wilson said.

“Adelies are like festival-goers that have had too much caffeine. They’re aggressive and hyperactive.”

Frozen Planet begins on October 26 at 9pm on BBC1.