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Flood of water led to drug house bust

Date

David Ellery

Police seize cannabis plants with an estimated street value of $300,000 at a property in Macgregor yesterday.

Police seize cannabis plants with an estimated street value of $300,000 at a property in Macgregor yesterday. Photo: Graham Tidy

A helpful passer-by, alerted by water pouring from the balcony of a two-storey home in Macgregor, is responsible for ACT Policing's biggest drug bust in a year.

Emergency services were called when ''an unusual amount of water'' was seen running off the balcony of the house in Dagmar Berne Street shortly before 8pm on Friday.

On entering the near new house, police and ACT Fire and Rescue officers discovered a sophisticated hydroponics set-up, complete with lights, soil and water hoses, which was being used to nurture 94 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of $300,000.

AFP officer Cade DeLepervanche stacks the bags of plants.

AFP officer Cade DeLepervanche stacks the bags of plants. Photo: Graham Tidy

The secret garden was restricted to the second floor.

Detective Sergeant Shane Scott said the haul, which was weeks short of maturity, was the largest seized in the ACT in the past 12 months.

Residents of the leafy and normally tranquil new suburb were shocked and surprised at the weekend's events.

''It is not very nice,'' one young mother said. ''Most of the people in the street are young families.

''The police came on Friday and have been here all weekend. We're just glad it (the drug plantation) has been found and is not operating any more.''

On Monday, up to 10 officers, uniformed and plain-clothed, were packing components of the hydroponics installation from the house into vans for removal.

Piles of earth had been raked out onto the first-floor balcony.

Detective Scott said the plants appeared to be about two months old and were about 1.5 metres tall.

He would not comment on attempts to contact owners of the house and said that no arrests had been made.

A neighbour said there had been few, if any, signs of occupancy and that the unkempt appearance of the property's garden was the only thing that had set it apart from its neighbours.

It has now suffered extensive water damage to its light fittings and plasterwork.

Detective Scott said police wanted to hear from anybody who may have any information on who was responsible for the thwarted drug operation. He has also warned members of the public to be on the lookout for homes with blacked-out windows or from which unusual smells emanated.

To contact Crime Stoppers call 1800 333 000.

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