A Queensland detective is calling on property managers to participate in training relating to the detection of drug laboratories in rentals.
Detective Sergeant Geoff Marsh from the State Drug Squad told Residential Property Manager that training was vital in educating property managers on how to spot drug operations in rental properties and how to report them.
“It’s for their own safety and that’s paramount, and it’s for the safety of their landlords’ properties that they get themselves up to speed on what drug labs look like,” he said.
In this year alone, Queensland Police discovered 350 clandestine drug labs, a rise from the 330 found last year.
“In the labs that we have found this year, a high proportion of them were drug addiction-based labs. They’re addiction-based cooks where people who are addicted to the drug themselves are producing a small amount of the drug for their use and for the use of their friends,” Detective Marsh said.
The danger of drug laboratories has been highlighted in cases where homes that were being used to manufacture drugs have exploded.
In April this year, a tenant blew apart his rental home in Springfield, causing $147,000 in damages. Police investigations revealed the explosion was caused by the production of methyamphetamines in the house.
Detective Marsh said safety needed to be a key priority for property managers during property inspections.
“No one can replace you. As soon as you feel uncomfortable, and it’s a gut feeling, take it. If you smell something when you walk into a house and it doesn’t smell right since the last time you inspected it and it’s not coffee beans and nice flowers, get out,” he said.
Mr Marsh advised property managers to take a colleague or police officer with them to an inspection, and to flag potential properties.