Police say offenders in Waikato are ''more willing'' to arm themselves after raids across the region netted hundreds of cannabis plants and a number of guns.
The latest phase of Operation Persil - a Waikato-wide dishonesty and violence focused initiative - was carried out last week.
Hamilton City Tactical Coordinator, senior sergeant Freda Grace, said 400 cannabis plants were found at a Hamilton house, and a small number at a Kawhia house last Monday.
''A firearm was also recovered in these searches,'' she said.
Three guns were also found at a Taupiri property where over 100 cannabis plants were recovered.
''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.''
It was also becoming more common to find people involved in dishonesty offending, such as burglary, were also active in the illicit drugs trade.
She said these offenders often used property stolen in residential burglaries to fund their drug habits and that people buying stolen goods were fuelling the problem.
It was estimated that several thousands of dollars worth of drugs, with the potential to cause millions of dollars worth of harm in the community, were found in the latest searches.
There have been over 400 arrests since Operation Persil was started four years ago.
''These cold calls reinforce the anywhere-any time concept of policing and deter offenders from breaching their conditions.''
Houses in Hamilton and Thames were also searched during the week.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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