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Renewed call for vigilance on drug labs

31 October 2013 Brendan Wong

New South Wales police are calling on property managers to be vigilant towards rental properties that may be used as drug labs. 

According to the Australian Crime Commission’s Illicit Drug Report 2011-2012, a record 809 clandestine laboratories were detected in Australia with 70.6 per cent originating in residential areas. 

Detective Sergeant Peter Ruskin from the State Crime Command explained that clandestine laboratories contained precursor chemicals, other reagent chemicals, solvents, equipment and apparatus used in the manufacture process.

“While we do not collect statistics in relation to the ownership of the premises used, it appears that the majority of the premises are under a formal or informal lease agreement.”


Sergeant Ruskin said there seven tell-sale signs that a property could be used to manufacture prohibited drugs, such as Ice and ecstacy.

  • Strange odours emanating from the property
  • Diverted electricity
  • Chemical containers and waste
  • Blacked out windows
  • Hoses and pipes in strange places
  • Blinds down, with extremely bright indoor lighting radiating through gaps
  • Vehicles arriving at odd hours

Other clues included dampness or mould on the walls and excessive electricity usage and tampering of the electricity meter.

Sergeant Ruskin said if property managers sighted anything they could report it through local police, Chemical Operations Hotline (1800 648 161, the Police Assistance Line (131 444) or Crime Stoppers (1800 333 000).

“The information will be treated in the strictest of confidence and it will be assessed prior to an investigation commencing.

“The completeness of the information and the timeliness of it will determine the time frame involved. If the property manager leaves their details, an officer will contact them if any information is required.”

He added: “If the person reporting the information receives any threat in any manner or through a third part as a result of giving police information, it will be treated with the utmost seriousness.”

Renewed call for vigilance on drug labs
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