Four Australian men were dubbed "idiots of the century" after they posed for photos in a baited crocodile trap in northeastern Australia. Images posted to Facebook show the men swimming inside the trap at Port Douglas Marina in Queensland, Australia.

The trap is close to the location where 79-year-old Anne Cameron was attacked and killed by a 4.3 metre crocodile just two weeks ago. The woman, suffering from dementia, had wandered from her care home.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) has launched an investigation into the incident and said the the men's actions were "stupid and reckless".

"These traps are specifically designed to attract crocodiles and they are deployed in places where a problem crocodile is known to be present," a spokesperson for EHP said in a statement to local media. "It is extremely dangerous to interfere with a crocodile trap, regardless of whether or not there is a crocodile within."

Julia Leu, the mayor of Douglas Shire, where the incident is believed to have taken place, said she was "gobsmacked" by the images and condemned the "incredibly stupid and dangerous behaviour".

"I'm wondering if these fellows are vying for the idiots of the year award or the idiots of the century award," she told ABC radio.

The men could now face a large financial penalty for their actions. Fines of up to $15,000 AUD were recently introduced for anyone found interfering with crocodile traps. Environment minister Steven Miles said anyone with information should come forward to authorities.

"I've seen some pretty ridiculous things in my time as environment minister, particularly when it comes to crocodiles, but this one takes the cake.

"You've got grown men swimming in a crocodile trap, exactly where we put the bait for the crocodiles. The reason the trap is there is because we suspect there are crocodiles in the area. The trap is dangerous in and of itself, and of course if the crocodile were to appear that would be even more dangerous."

Crocodile trap
Men pose for photos in a baited crocodile trap in Queensland, Australia. Stacy W Clayton