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Farmers Told To Watch For Dope Plants

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Farmers are being warned to keep an eye out for drugs this Christmas as the
cannabis-growing season gets into full swing.

Charlie Pederson, who has had incidents on his Foxton property, said the
presence of dope plants on a property presented farmers with a problem.

"If you do come across a plot, you're in a dilemma about what to do," he said.

"If you ignore it, you're aiding and abetting a crime and that's not good.
But if you go and report it, then it's likely the grower will be a bit
pissed off and will probably blame the landowner. And of course, if the
grower gets away with it one year, he'll likely come back the next as well."

Mr Pedersen said his property contained quite a bit of forestry, which was
attractive to dope growers.

"Usually they are pretty obvious, and they are surrounded by netting to
protect the plants from the feral deer we have down here. It gives you a
funny feeling when you come across one, because you hear these stories
about booby traps."

Signs to look out for include theft of farm implements, fencing and even
water, which is siphoned off to irrigate plantations.

"The sort of people who grow this stuff are obviously criminals, so they
wouldn't be averse to stealing anything that's around. Contact the police
if you see anything suspicious."

Mr Pedersen said he often saw people on his property, but it wasn't always
practical to hunt them down and find out what they were up to. "That's why
I raised my concerns at that meeting about public access to private land."

The Conservation Department visited the region recently to outline its
discussion plan for an easing of public access to the backblocks, often via
private land.

Pubdate: Wed, 10 Dec 2003
Source: Manawatu Evening Standard (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2003 Manawatu Evening Standard
Contact: editor@msl.co.nz
Website: http://www.manawatueveningstandard.co.nz/