Police have issued a stern warning to landlords after hundreds of cannabis plants were seized in drug busts involving million-dollar Auckland rental properties.

Police this afternoon said they had executed search warrants at eight houses in Papakura and East Auckland yesterday. Three people were arrested and six houses were found to contain cannabis growing rooms.

Five of the six houses were rented, and some were million-dollar-plus properties.

Each house had an elaborate growing set up with an average of 60 to 80 cannabis plants of various age and size.

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Detective Senior Sergeant Kevin Tiernan, who headed the investigation, said the houses had sustained some damage as a result of the activity.

Some of the cannabis plants seized. Photo / NZ Police
Some of the cannabis plants seized. Photo / NZ Police

"Clearly the landlords for these properties have never done a house inspection in the time the property has been rented and they had no idea of the illegal use that was going on.

"If it can be proved that any of the landlords did know what was happening in the houses, then police would look at taking proceed of crime action against them and seeking the forfeiture of the houses to the Crown."

Some of the cannabis plants seized. Photo / NZ Police
Some of the cannabis plants seized. Photo / NZ Police

The operation involved 45 Counties Manukau officers together with staff from the police's national organised crime group.

More than 500 cannabis plants were seized on the day and have since been destroyed.

A man and woman, both aged 29, and a 42-year-old man have been charged with cultivating cannabis and were due before Manukau District Court today.