One of the country's most notorious criminals has been sent back behind bars after being sentenced on drugs charges today.

Dean Wickliffe, 63, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in Tauranga District Court today on five charges including manufacturing methamphetamine and the possession of methamphetamine for supply.

The charges stem from an armed offenders squad raid at a property at Maketu in the Bay of Plenty last year which followed several hours of police surveillance.

The garage area had been converted into a separate room to manufacture P and to store substantial amounts of precursor chemicals and equipment used in the cooking process.

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Wickliffe has spent more than half of his life behind bars and the raid on December 2 came soon after he had been released from prison after serving a sentence for previous offending.

He was first sent to prison in 1972 for the murder of Wellington jeweller Paul Miet, but the charge was reduced to manslaughter 12 years later.

He twice escaped from Auckland Prison at Paremoremo - the country's only maximum security prison.

Wickliffe was later charged with another murder but his conviction was quashed and he was acquitted at a retrial.