A drone has been used to identify a hidden cache of 100 cannabis plants stashed in the Kaingaroa Forest last week.
Following an anonymous tip-off about a suspicious vehicle from a member of the public, police entered the area early on the morning of April 7.
“We got a call on Friday from a member of the the public reporting a suspicious ute in the area,” he said.
“Some people had unloaded a bike from the ute and had headed into the Kaingaroa Forest with machetes.”
Police investigated the ute and waited to speak to the occupants who were gone for some time.
A canine unit was also brought in to try and locate the men who had been seen entering the forest.
“We managed to intercept two men coming out of the forest,” Turnbull said.
“They had two machetes and reeked of cannabis. Their excuse was they were hunting with the machetes which is an offence in itself.”
Turnbull said the two men were initially detained on hunting charges and further questioning led to police conducting a thorough search of the area.
The canine unit and foot patrols were unable to locate anything suspicious so police officers looked for a high tech solution to their problem.
We covered about 18 kilometres of the forest,” he said.
“We borrowed a drone and with that we were able to locate the cannabis plants.
“Without that drone we would not have found it and would have just been wandering around the bush.”
Flying overhead the drone was able to detect a secret garden of about 100 cannabis plants, stashed in the Kaingaroa Forest.
Turnbull said it was a significant find.
“The cannabis plants were very well looked after and were mature plants,” he said.
While it was impossible Turnbull was unable to put an exact value on the find but said it was good to have the drug off the streets.
Two men have been charged with possession with intent to supply in connection to the offence.
“This was the first time we have used a drone,” Turnbull said.
“It is not part of our standard equipment and we had to borrow it. We are thankful of the organisation that lent it to us and the member of the public who phoned in the tip.”