IT has become something of a rarity – a bush crop of cannabis hidden deep in a state forest, a well-worn path to the water source indicating the care of its growers.
Port Stephens detectives on Monday discovered the 16 plants, some more than three metres tall, protected by a wire fence in the Wallaroo State Forest north of Medowie.
The discovery comes just four days after the same investigators seized more than 450 plants in an unrelated hydroponic set-up at Salt Ash.
‘‘This is old-fashioned cultivation,’’ Detective Sergeant Andrew Wheatley said on Monday night.
The bush cannabis does not grow the much sought-after buds, which give a stronger high.
But what they lack in strength they also lack in chemicals, keeping them a favourite of some users.
Bush crops have become harder to cultivate because of improved police tactics involving specialist squads and the use of aircraft to search wide areas of bushland.
Growers keep crops to a small number, hidden between thick trees and close to water.
This healthy crop could have been planted as early as September and was well-cared for.
‘‘There is a well-worn track between the location and Twelve Mile Creek, which is the nearest water source,’’ Detective Sergeant Wheatley said.
Investigations into the identity of the growers continue.