Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Four in court over upmarket Wellington P-lab

Fire Service and a decontamination tent set up near the scene of this morning's surprise clan-lab discovery. Photo / APNZ
Fire Service and a decontamination tent set up near the scene of this morning's surprise clan-lab discovery. Photo / APNZ

Four people appeared in court today facing charges related to a P lab that was discovered in a central Wellington apartment early today.

They were all granted name suppression when they appeared at the Wellington District Court this afternoon.

They were each charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply.

Two were remanded in custody and two were remanded on bail until hearings later this month.

Police stormed the Chews Lane apartment shortly after 5am, and were surprised to discover a clandestine laboratory.

The 19-storey apartment complex, which opened about five years ago, was evacuated after the discovery.

Police closed nearby streets while a decontamination tent was set up between the Wellington police district headquarters and the central library.

One police officer was examined by ambulance staff after decontamination and is not reporting any significant adverse symptoms. No other police or fire staff who underwent decontamination needed medical attention.

The Victoria St end of Chews Lane - a well-used pedestrian alley that houses cafes, a bar and apartments - is directly opposite the police and library buildings.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Leitch said police executed a search warrant after members of the public tipped them off to drugs at the address.

"The police kind of tripped upon this lab - we didn't realise there would be a lab there, so we weren't prepared for a lab."

Three people were arrested - two men and a woman - and decontaminated before being taken to the police station. Another man arrived while police were at the apartment and was also arrested.

Residents of some of the 95 apartments said they were evacuated about 7am - about two hours after the search warrant was executed.

Most residents were allowed back into the building early this afternoon, apart from two apartments on either side of the scene.

- APNZ

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