POLICE say the discovery of more than 200 opium plants at a property north of Colac is a rare find.
Detective Peter Griffiths of Colac Criminal Investigation Unit said police raided a Balintore property and uncovered the illegal poppy plants growing up to a metre tall.
“Some of the poppies had already been harvested, so it was only the bulb, while others were the full plant and they ranged in maturity,” Det Griffiths said.
He said police also found two cannabis plants on the property during the drug bust on Tuesday.
Police arrested a Balintore man in his mid-20s for cultivating and possessing opium poppies and cannabis.
Det Griffiths said police hadn’t expected to uncover the crop.
“It’s quite rare, apparently it’s only the third time police have found poppies in the area in the past decade,” Det Griffiths said.
“They’ve been taken to a forensic lab for further investigation,” he said.
Opium is the source of opiate drugs including heroin.
Det Griffiths said the red flowering poppies could be in people’s gardens without their knowledge.
“It’s possible that people could inadvertently have some of these poppies in their yards,” he said.
“Obviously in this case they were there on purpose, but one or two could be growing
in people’s gardens without them knowing.”