Neighbours speak out after police drug raid

By John Cousins


Neighbours in a Mount Maunganui street where a house was raided for drugs this week have spoken about activities at the property over the past six weeks.

In hindsight, the sophisticated cannabis-growing operation allegedly found at the house all made sense to a neighbour, who met one of the men living there.

Both men were aged in their late 20s or early 30s.

The neighbour, who spoke on condition he was not named, told the Bay of Plenty Times lights were seldom on in the house at night and during the day he would regularly see the men carrying a little bag home from the nearly supermarket, with just a couple of items that he presumed were lunch.

"They were there a fair bit of the time but I could not understand why you could not see a light on at night. It was like they were not living there."

During Monday's seizures, he saw a man carrying a little supermarket bag walk down a shared driveway that did not service the rented property, but ran around the back of the house.

He saw the man stop, have a good look at what was going on and then got on to his cellphone before turning around and leaving.

Another curious fact was that when they shifted in, although there was a bit of furniture, most of the shifting was done in the evening when it was nearly dark.

His wife, who also met the neighbour, said he was nice.

"We just thought they were nice quiet neighbours.

"We don't like to see things like that happen, but it does happen."

Another neighbour said it was quite an exciting afternoon seeing the drug-growing apparatus and cannabis plants being taken out of the garage.

She was told the discovery was made when police were doing routine drink-drive breath tests and vehicle warrant and registration checks, starting about 11am.

She said police were parked outside the property when one of the officers thought he caught a whiff of cannabis and started to look around.

By the time the search warrant arrived it was about 1.30pm.

"We are glad they got caught. It is so arrogant to move into a neighbourhood and get a drug operation going."

Another resident, Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Margaret Houghton, said the police looked through the cracks in the garage but could not see anything and the discovery was not made until the search warrant arrived.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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