The police helicopter, Polair 1,during this year's cannabis eradication program.
The police helicopter, Polair 1,during this year's cannabis eradication program. Frank Redward

We’re no longer the state’s cannabis growing capital

THE NORTHERN Rivers has lost the mantle as the cannabis growing capital of NSW according to results from NSW Police annual cannabis eradication program.

In total the program found almost 13,000 cannabis plants estimated to be worth more than $25 million which were destroyed by police.

The cannabis capital crown for 2013 according to police seizures was the New England Local Area command.

Despite the cooler conditions on the tablelands, 3540 cannabis plants with an estimated value of $6.9 million were destroyed.

The plants were discovered at Diehard, Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Carrai and Glen Elgin.

This was followed by the Mid North coast Local Area Command where 2914 plants estimated to be worth $5.8 million were found at Bowraville, Wauchope, Port Macquarie and Kendall.

In the Richmond Local Area command 2099 cannabis plants with an estimated value of $4.2 million were seized from areas including Boorabee, Gradys Creek, Nimbin, Rapville and Tabulam.

State Crime Command's Drug Squad commander, Detective Superintendent Nick Bingham, said the program, which has been running since the mid 1980s, continued to be highly effective in disrupting the production and supply of bush-grown cannabis.

"As a result of our Cannabis Eradication Program, cannabis growers are being forced into deeper and more dense bushland," he said.

"We're also finding that crops are getting smaller, as growers attempt to avoid detection by police."

Det Supt Bingham said reducing the availability of cannabis in NSW, remained the program's ultimate goal.

"Some people think cannabis is a harmless drug," he said.

"It's not."

"Every time we destroy a crop, we're reducing the amount of cannabis that makes it into homes, schools and workplaces across the state."

"Since the Cannabis Eradication program started in the mid 80s, it has been able to prevent nearly quarter of a billion dollars worth of cannabis reaching NSW streets."



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