Northland police are on the hunt for a man believed to have broken into a Kaipara bach to manufacture methamphetamine in a lab and who is accused of later torching the building.
The bach went up in flames in a suspected arson attack on Komiti Rd in Tinopai, around 60km south of Dargaville, on the evening of January 22.
Volunteer fire brigades from Tinopai and Ruawai attended the blaze which destroyed the property.
The owners of the bach had no idea a man had been living at their property for several months. They also had no idea that methamphetamine was allegedly being manufactured there. It's believed he had been making the Class A drug the for months.
Police described the man as European, in his 30s to 40s with light brown hair and tattoos over his arms and legs.
The vehicle he was driving was a red hatchback with parts of the body work painted black.
Police urged anyone with any information - especially summer holidaymakers in the Tinopai area - that may have photographed him or his vehicle to contact 105 and quote file number 210123/0697.
Methamphetamine, or P as it is also known, is a Class A drug and importing or exporting, producing or manufacturing, supplying or administering, selling, offering to sell or supply or administer, or possessing for any of the preceding purposes carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The leader of a Northland drug ring that manufactured the largest amount of meth in New Zealand was jailed for 28 years - a sentence upheld on appeal last year - after he ran a large-scale clandestine P lab near Waiotira.
Head Hunters member Brownie Joseph Harding supervised the production of 6.5kg of methamphetamine six times - the largest single case of meth manufacturing to have come before the courts in New Zealand - at a house in Taipuha Rd at Waiotira, between Whangārei and Paparoa, from September to December 2014.
The father of seven was recorded by a pre-sentence report writer as saying he would "do it all again".
He pleaded guilty in 2016 to six charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, two of conspiring to supply the drug, one of possession for supply, one of supplying pseudoephedrine and one of participating in an organised criminal group.