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Clean up of cannabis should wash away problems in Waikato

Police believe Persil's clean up of cannabis will wash away significant potential harm to Waikato community

Waikato Police say a District wide clean up of dishonesty offenders that resulted in the recovery of hundreds of cannabis plants and a number of firearms will prevent millions of dollars worth of potential harm in the community.

Hamilton City Tactical Coordinator, Senior Sergeant Freda Grace, said 21 people are facing charges following the latest phase of Operation Persil, a Waikato wide dishonesty and violence focused initiative.

"Operation Persil is a preventative based campaign that has resulted in over 400 arrests since its inception four years ago. It concentrates on ensuring offenders subject to court imposed sanctions adhere to them be they driving restrictions, curfews or bail conditions."

Ms Grace said using staff from across the District was all part of the One District- One Police approach to policing the Waikato which saw Police moving away from policing towns in isolation.

"The operation got off to a good start last Monday when Te Awamutu officers searched a Hamilton property and recovered 400 cannabis plants in various stages of maturity. One man was arrested on drugs charges for this and for a small number of plants found at a Kawhia address.

"A firearm was also recovered in these searches. The next day six Hamilton properties were searched while 10 properties were visited as Police sought people wanted on warrants resulting in the arrest of 10 people on a variety of charges."

On Wednesday Hamilton Police combined with eastern Waikato colleagues to visit several properties where occupants were subject to bail conditions and curfews.

"These cold calls reinforce the anywhere-any time concept of policing and deter offenders from breaching their conditions. At the same time vehicle checkpoints resulted in 20 infringement notices being issued as we targeted offenders breaching driving suspensions.

"On Thursday Western Waikato Police were joined by City staff to search two north Waikato properties in relation to drug and burglary offending including one at Taupiri where over 100 cannabis plants and three firearms were recovered."

Ms Grace said it was becoming increasingly common to find people involved in dishonesty offending also being active in the illicit drugs trade.

"At the same time these offenders are becoming more willing to arm themselves to protect their investments creating a risk not just to the public but to our staff as well."

While officers were busy assessing the success of Operation Persil and the impact the seizures would have on reducing crime across the Waikato, Thames officers advised of another large discovery.

"On Friday Thames-Coromandel CIB staff searched a Thames property where five mature plants and over 200 seedlings were discovered.

"We're still working to establish the value of this and the other seizures but it is estimated to have been several thousands of dollars worth of drugs with the potential to cause millions of dollars worth of harm in the community."

Ms Grace said it was well established that offenders used property stolen in residential burglaries to fund their drug habits and that by turning a blind eye to cheap electronics or other items buyers were fuelling the problem.

"This results in increased insurance premiums and fuels the black market economy which means your home could be next. To prevent this you need to advise Police of suspicious activity either by contacting us directly or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
End

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