Police say meat increasingly being used to purchase synthetic drugs

 Drug users are turning to meat to fuel their hunger to get high.

Senior sergeant Richard Thompson said drug users were using meat as a commodity to buy drugs.

Police found a freezer load of meat during a drug raid in Ranui, Auckland in July.  The meat was being used to purchase drugs, police said.

They also found 50 synthetic cannabis bags, power tools and hand tools at the house.

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Thompson said police had been aware of this trend for a long time.

"It's just one of those things that's known," he said.

It was becoming more common to find freezer loads of meat during raids, he said. 

"We come across meat when we do search warrants, we come across freezer loads of meat - it's just one of those things that we know about and it's just another commodity, just like stolen goods.

"We don't seize it because it's difficult to know where it's from and distinguishing between what may be generally owned by the people of the house or what is being used to purchase drugs."

Police were certain meat used to purchase drugs was stolen because it was easy to obtain, but they couldn't say what types of meat were exchanged for drugs, he said.

"So instead of handing over cash, they use meat or other stolen property like tools.

"People won't be buying meat to buy drugs, they'd be stealing it to purchase drugs."

Crime prevention software company Auror were aware meat was a popular item for thieves to steal. 

Auror content and communications manager Kevin Ptak said thieves stole all types of high-value items from retailers everyday, especially those which could be easily sold on.

"Items like meat, cosmetics, clothing, footwear and electronics are all popular with thieves."

He said retail crime cost the economy more than $2 million every day.

In the past, luxury meat brand Silver Fern Farms was targeted in Auckland supermarkets by gangs and resold to restaurants and dairies.  

 - Stuff