Own­ers bust renters mak­ing drugs

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - PHILLIPA YALDEN AND LIBBY WIL­SON

Drug mak­ers have al­legedly been busted brew­ing P at a hol­i­day home they booked through an on­line hol­i­day rentals site.

Po­lice are warn­ing bach own­ers to be care­ful with wouldbe mid-win­ter hol­i­day­mak­ers turn­ing drug cooks af­ter the own­ers of the idyl­lic ru­ral cottage, 10 min­utes’ drive from Hob­biton, caught them in the act.

Eastern Waikato po­lice man­ager of crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions, De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Stephen Am­bler, said the prop­erty off State High­way 29 at Te Poi was booked for a short-term stay through an on­line rental site.

He could not say ex­actly how long the book­ing was made for but the own­ers of the home, who live lo­cally, be­came wary of the ac­tiv­ity and de­cided to stop by the prop­erty.

‘‘When they turned up there they saw what they be­lieved to be a lab­o­ra­tory for cook­ing metham­phetamine in the garage and alerted po­lice to that.

‘‘They have stum­bled onto some­thing quite or­gan­ised.’’

Elec­tri­cal cords lead­ing to the garage - which the renters weren’t meant to be us­ing - raised sus­pi­cions, one of the own­ers said.

The man, who did not give his name, said other fam­ily mem­bers man­age the cottage as a means to sup­ple­ment their farm­ing in­come.

‘‘It’s given them a hell of a fright,’’ he said.

‘‘They’re go­ing to have to be very, very se­lec­tive now.’’

A man­ager spot­ted the cords when she called in to see if the new guests had ar­rived overnight, he said.

Other fam­ily mem­bers ar­rived, asked what the renters were do­ing, and were al­legedly told they were fix­ing a mo­tor­bike. That didn’t wash. The man­agers first planned to cor­ral the renters un­til po­lice ar­rived, but the renters al­legedly threat­ened to ram the man­agers with their ve­hi­cles.

There didn’t ap­pear to be dam­age to the cottage, the man said, and the fam­ily is hop­ing they caught the renters be­fore they started cook­ing the drugs.

Po­lice said they ad­vised the own­ers to back out of the prop- erty, but said there was a con­fronta­tion with two men and a woman.

The three then jumped into three sep­a­rate ve­hi­cles and left the prop­erty, Am­bler said.

Re­spond­ing of­fi­cers spot­ted one of the cars and a chase be­gan but of­fi­cers lost sight of the ve­hi­cle, which headed over the Kaimai Ranges to­wards Tau­ranga.

Po­lice tracked one of the men who had fled the hol­i­day home on a mo­tor­cy­cle.

Am­bler said the man was ar­rested and taken into cus­tody.

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