What started as a police search for a missing man ended in the discovery of a fully operational methamphetamine laboratory hidden in a hut in secluded Northland bush.
The alarm was raised when police received a missing person's report early Saturday morning.
Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Dalzell said family of the 52-year-old man told officers he had not been seen since going into bushland in Russell State Forest last Wednesday night.
His vehicle was found at a property on the outskirts of the bush.
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Dalzell said the Search and Rescue and other specialist police groups were swiftly called out to the forest to try to locate the man, and during their search, officers found a methamphetamine laboratory, camouflaged in a hut in the forest.
Police said the hut was well hidden and had clearly been used to manufacture methamphetamine and other harmful drugs.
Officers seized items in the hut as well as a quad bike found near the hut, and the vehicle found near the property. A scene examination in the remote location was completed yesterday.
"On Sunday police located the 52-year-old man and he is assisting us with our enquires into the clandestine methamphetamine lab," Dalzell said.
"The impact methamphetamine has on the community cannot be denied. It has the ability to destroy families and lives, and the desire to obtain the drug is a driver of a lot of crime and harm in our communities."
Dalzell said the discovering of the lab and being able to ensure it was not used to manufacture drugs in the future was a great result.