Six tourists have been arrested for breaking into restricted areas of Machu Picchu which they allegedly damaged and defecated on.
Wilbert Leyva, the Head of the Police of Cusco, the Peruvian region where the citadel is located, told local media that “the six tourists were arrested and are being investigated by the Public Ministry for alleged crimes against cultural heritage”.
Local media report the tourists allegedly broke into the Templo del Sol (Sun Temple) area of the citadel and “a lithic element had a fracture which might have fallen from a wall causing the hole in the ground.”
As well as the material damage, the Regional Direction of Culture in Cusco reported that faecal matter was found at the temple which is considered evidence the tourists defecated on the site.
The arrests took place on Sunda when the police found the toursits at the Templo del Sol. Access to some areas of the temple is restricted due to safety reasons.
The arrested tourists were identified as Favian Eduardo Vera Vergara, 30, of Chilean nationality, Marion Lucie Martinez, 26, of French nationality, Cristiano Da Silva Ribeiro, 30 and Magdalena Abril Retamal, 20, both of Brazilian nationality, Leandro Sactiva, 32 and Nahuel Gomez, both of Argentine nationality.
The Head of the Archaeological National Park of Machu Picchu, Jose Bastante, asked the police station where the tourists are arrested to speed up the investigations in order to find responsible.
Peruvian law sees those found guilty of damaging cultural heritage given prison penalties of at least four years.
Bastante also announced that this kind of behaviour will be prevented thanks to the installation of CCTV cameras on the site.
He confirmed to local media that there are currently six CCTV cameras on the site and two more in the Cultural Centre, however, around 20 more will be installed in strategic points at Machu Picchu.
He said: “The new cameras will be installed in places such as Casa del Guardian, Intipunku, the entrance of Huayna Picchu and even the Puente Ruinas, we want to cover the most amount of places possible”.
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