Pest controller Mr Harold M Ross was fined $18,000 as well as ordered to pay $35,000 in costs in the Land and Environment Court after pleading guilty to polluting waters of Dungay Creek, on a property near Murwillumbah, during a mosquito spraying operation in 2007.

The Department of Environment and Climate Change said the court heard Mr Ross applied the mosquito control pesticide ‘bifenthrin’, which is very toxic to aquatic life, around Dungay Creek, some of which entered the waters, killing around 1000 native crayfish and some insects.

Mr Ross had been engaged by the makers of the British television show, ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’, to rid the filming location of mosquitoes to stop the cast and crew being bitten.

In sentencing, Justice Pain took into account Mr Ross’ early guilty plea, efforts to clean up the site and assistance with the investigation.

Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) Director General Lisa Corbyn said the court’s decision sends a clear message to all pesticide users.

“All pesticides must be handled and used so as not to cause harm to the environment,” Ms Corbyn said.

“This is especially important when using a pesticide near waterways.

“When spraying pesticides, users must also be very aware of weather conditions.”

People can report pesticide pollution incidents to the Environment Line 131555.