A Thames duck shooter who was illegally digging a duck pond next to his maimai ran into trouble when his digger got stuck.

The man was issued two formal warnings from the Waikato Regional Council for damaging a protected coastland marine area near Waitakaruru, in the southern Firth of Thames.

The council began investigating the incident after receiving a complaint that a digger was stuck in the wetland.

The man had borrowed a digger to excavate a pond next to his maimai in February.

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But the digger ended up digging a hole for it instead and ended up fully submerged in the mud.

The man told the council he was just using the digger to remove leftover construction materials, but the council's investigation found he was trying to make a pond.

Reminiscent of popular New Zealand children's story The Little Yellow Digger, he then brought in further heavy machines and equipment to try to free the digger.

The council said this only added to the damage he had already done to the environment.

Council investigations manager Patrick Lynch said wetland needed to be looked after so the diverse bird, plant and fish life could be protected.

"Human activity is the biggest threat to any wetland and people simply cannot go in there with 20 tonne diggers destroying habitats."

In 2013 a farmer received a formal warning for digging a duck pond north of Waitakaruru.