Editorial: P labs are a menace


An absolute disgrace is the only way I can think of describing the people responsible for this week's P-lab explosion in Oceanbeach Rd.

The blast happened early Tuesday while neighbours were asleep, and left one man suffering critical burns and forced the evacuation of residents surrounding the property.

The actions of those responsible are not only illegal but also left ambulance officers needing medical attention and other first responders needing decontamination.

They also left the property damaged.

But it's not their property - they rented it from an 80-year-old local woman, who now faces the costly and difficult task of fixing and decontaminating the house.

P remains a scourge in our society and I find it frightening how drug runners can fool landlords into giving them the keys to suburban properties so they can begin playing with a deadly, potentially explosive cocktail of chemicals.

Methamphetamine manufacturers are the lowest of the low.

They are far worse than the addicted people they prey on and do nothing but cause misery in our community - all for money. If they don't know what they're doing, the consequences can be deadly.

Western Bay police last year raided 11 P labs but are unable to provide figures for so far this year.

It's heartening to see police hitting these secret, filthy laboratories but less than one a month makes me wonder if they are merely scratching the surface.

How many other hidden labs are in operation in residential streets today, waiting to blow up and injure innocent people?

How many people are unwittingly buying or renting houses contaminated with dangerous chemicals?

This week's blast is a reminder this problem is not one confined to undesirable parts of the region.

This happened in an upmarket street.

As part of Wednesday's coverage on this story, we published a guide of what you need to know about P labs - including the warning signs from the inside and outside.

I hope anyone renting, letting or buying a property finds it useful.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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