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What was thought to be a domestic dispute has turned out to be a cannabis growing operation, police say.
Eastern District Acting Senior Sergeant Clint Adamson said police were called to a house in Hastings on Sunday afternoon after reports of a woman screaming. What police believed was a domestic dispute ended up with a 28-year-old man at the property being arrested and charged with cultivating cannabis.
"It was case of the victim becoming the offender," Mr Adamson said.
Police were called by a member of the public and told a woman had been heard screaming and yelling from inside the property.
"We initially responded to it as a case of disorder or a domestic dispute that had got out of hand," Mr Adamson said.
When the first officers arrived they confronted a man and the woman and suspected there had been more going on than a heated argument between them.
One officer checked the garage and found several cannabis plants being grown in an indoors plot.
Most plants had, however, disappeared, police said.
"They'd just had a recent visit from some undesirables, who obviously heard about what they had in there," Mr Adamson said.
When the four men who turned up started helping themselves to the cannabis the man's partner had begun screaming - which alerted a neighbour nearby that all was not well.
Mr Adamson said the group took most of the plants from the garage and had made off just before police arrived.
Enquiries were under way to track them down.
A 28-year-old man will appear in Hastings District Court later this week.
- By Roger Moroney of Hawke's Bay Today