Public information about drugs is being hailed as a major contributor to the increase in cannabis seizures during this year's recovery operation in Central District.
The annual operation begins with an intelligence-gathering phase and is followed by an aerial recovery phase using Air Force Iroquois helicopters to winch police officers into plots.
In addition to the rural recovery there is a large ground phase which this year involved in excess of 70 search warrants against drug cultivators and drug dealers within the District.
This year's operation saw a total of 10,134 plants recovered compared to 6,374 last year. 5,346 of this year's haul was from the aerial operation with the remaining 4,788 the result of 78 search warrants.
Cannabis grows were located in 87 plots and 165 offenders have been identified resulting in 336 charges. Police also recovered large numbers of firearms and ammunition, over a quarter of a million dollars in cash, quantities of methamphetamine and cannabis oil and stolen property.
Operation coordinator for Central District, Detective Senior Sergeant Keith Borrell, said: "We have had fantastic feedback from the public this year both directly to Police and through Crimestoppers 0800 number. They are sending a clear message that they don't want drugs in their communities and they are willing to support our efforts to tackle the issue.
"I have no doubt that is one of the main reasons we have seen a rise this year, particularly in respect of the indoor grows where offenders are under the misapprehension that they can hide from us."
A good growing season caused by damp weather conditions is also being attributed in part to the higher numbers. Sizes of plots have ranged from five to 150 plants and police continue to uncover a broad spectrum of growing methods from sporadic, random planting through to plots fully enclosed by netting. Sheds, spare bedrooms and even an underground bunker have been used for indoor crops.
"Just because we have finished this operation doesn't mean we have stopped targeting drug growers and drug dealers. We will continue to commit resources to fighting this battle," said Detective Senior Sergeant Borrell.
If you have information about any drug activity you should contact your local Police Station. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Area results for aerial recovery phase Taranaki - 1953 plants Ruapehu - 1816 plants Whanganui - 754 plants Manawatu - 823 plants
Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 027 234 8256.