Landlords urged to check for P labs

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 05:00 24/10/2012

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A group fighting the methamphetamine scourge in Auckland says landlords should give rental properties a "warrant of fitness" to check if they had been used as P labs, before renting or selling.

Auckland's Regional Methamphetamine Working Group, which was formed last year and is made up of health and welfare agencies, updated Auckland Council's Community Safety Forum yesterday on its progress and put forward the idea in order to protect unsuspecting tenants.

The group's goal is for the city to be "free from the influence and harm of methamphetamine" by 2015.

Miles Stratford, the director of a company that installs alarms to detect the manufacture of P, said tests should be done to stop people from living in unhealthy homes.

"We think there needs to be a test before they go into the property and a test on the way out," he said.

"We need to monitor properties, because people are going in and getting sick, and sometimes that's the only way we find out."

He said the problem has been ducked for 15 years, and if it is left for too much longer it will become a real issue.

Nicholas Powell, a scientist from Forensic & Industrial Science Ltd, said it is not always easy to tell whether a rental property has been used as a P lab.

"P can bring chemical contamination, but staining is not always the case. Sometimes it is at levels that are simply not visible," he said.

"The only way to tell is to carry out chemical analyses."

Forum chairman George Wood said, after the meeting, it would be a "very costly exercise" to check every house.

He said he would rather be "very vigilant" with suspicious behaviour regarding P.

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