New Zealand Police ruin the day for indoor growing.
Like this post?
Customers at a garden store accused of selling hydroponic gear for cannabis growth will be forced to hand over identification, contact details and their date of birth.
But Michael Quinlan, director of Switched on Gardener, said he planned to appeal the bail conditions applied in the Auckland District Court yesterday.
He was one of 15 staff members who were remanded until next month.
The store is among 58 businesses hit in a mammoth police clampdown, called Operation Lime, after employees allegedly sold undercover police drugs, plants and growing equipment.
Yesterday, Auckland police swooped on a 43-year-old man who had just flown in from London and another six people were arrested nationwide - bringing the tally of arrests to 257.
Eight firearms were also seized, some of which were military-style semi automatic rifles, as well as methamphetamine, Ecstasy and LSD.
Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope said this was in keeping with the "scale of the tentacles of organised crime" in New Zealand.
"While this operation has focused on cannabis, it is concerning that the level of involvement of criminal activity covers a range of wider offending," he said.
It has emerged that gardening stores allegedly involved are allowed to stay open for business with a number of arrested staff already bailed and free to work.
Mr Quinlan said Switched on Gardener would be open today, but conceded staff would be quite tied up with meetings.
Of the bail conditions he said: "What are we? A police state?"
Mr Quinlan said a "little old grandma" coming in "for a bag of potting mix" did not deserve to be interrogated and anticipated other garden stores would follow suit and appeal.
He said staff had received "a huge amount of support" from customers and the general public.
The Herald can now reveal the names of the six other Auckland stores. These are Hydroponic Wholesalers Ltd, Headquarters, Grown & Brew, Growing Undercover, Easy Grow New Lynn and Easy Grow Manukau.
Detective Inspector Stu Alsopp-Smith, of the Auckland metro crime operations service, said stores could remain open as police would not "impact on a legitimate business".
But under bail conditions, anyone purchasing from those stores had to produce identification and strict recording procedures had to be followed.