"STUPID and reckless" men who played around inside a crocodile trap at Port Douglas, just days after an elderly woman was taken by a croc in the area, could be fined thousands of dollars.
Queensland's Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is investigating a series of photos posted to social media on October 20 that show four men inside and on top of a floating croc trap, near Dickson's Inlet.
Anne Cameron, 79, was taken by a 4.3m saltwater crocodile at Craiglie Creek, a short distance away from the inlet, the week earlier.
The crocodile was euthanased by rangers, however they could not rule out other large crocs being in the area.
An EHP spokeswoman confirmed the department had launched an investigation into the trap incident, strongly condemning the men's "stupid and reckless" interference with the equipment.
"These traps are specifically designed to attract crocodiles and they are deployed in places where a problem crocodile is known to be present," she said.
"It is extremely dangerous to interfere with a crocodile trap, regardless of whether or not there is a crocodile within.
"It is not an exaggeration to say that interfering with crocodile traps can be potentially life-threatening for the person concerned.
"It also places the general public at risk if the trap is tampered with in such a way that it becomes inoperative, hampering the ability of the Department to deliver its important public safety role."
The Palaszczuk Government has been cracking down on people to deliberately interfere with crocodile traps, increasing the penalty for the offence up to more than $15,000.
Environment Minister Steven Miles said the latest incident "took the cake" in terms of people tampering with croc traps.
"We've got grown men, swimming in a crocodile trap, exactly where we put the bait for the crocodiles," he said.
"The reason the trap is there, is we suspect there are crocodiles in the area.
"So to be swimming here at all, is dangerous.
"To be swimming around the trap is dangerous.
"And if the crocodile were to appear, that would be even more dangerous.
"This is not far from where a woman was taken just a week ago."
Anyone with information about the Port Douglas trap incident is urged to contact the department on 1300 130 372.
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