Record numbers of British people are applying for a handful of skilled tradesman jobs in one of the coldest places on Earth: the South Pole.

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is looking for plumbers, electricians, chefs and carpenters to relocate to any of its five bases across the frozen continent.

BAS was expecting more than 3,000 Brits to apply for the 36 vacancies on offer.

Successful candidates will get food, accommodation, outdoor clothing allowance and an annual salary of £23,000. They may, however, be scared off by the -40C temperatures and the 24-hour-a-day darkness for six months of the year.

The bases run on minimal staff during the southern winter and consist mainly of skilled tradesman. Most scientists do their work in the southern summer.

James Miller, human resources manager for BAS said: "It appears a symptom of the economic slowdown that we are receiving so many job applications for our bases.

"People with a trades background now hugely outnumber the scientists applying for research positions.

"As well as being good at their job, it's also very important that the people who work for us in the Antarctic can get on well with other people and have a sense of adventure.

"We are very careful to select people we feel confident will not be going into something they won't complete. There is a lot of living in comfortable but restricted space and it's actually the constant darkness that seems to affect most people.

"The Antarctic winter does limit what people can choose to do in their spare time."