Red-faced police are scratching their heads after thieves broke into a crime scene and stole more than 100 cannabis plants while officers were supposedly guarding the site.
The West Australian understands that removing the drugs from the Thomas Road property in Anketell at night would have required authorised overtime, but it is not known whether that was the reason behind the decision to leave the plants overnight.
The hydroponically grown plants — believed to be valued at more than $100,000 — were discovered on Thursday morning growing inside a house and a large shed at the semi-rural property.
Some plants were also growing in an area of bush at the rear of the property.
A man and a woman were arrested at the scene and taken into custody on Thursday.
But for reasons that have not yet been explained, a decision was made late in the day to leave the drugs where they were and to call in a team of local uniformed officers to watch the house overnight.
While on guard duty, officers are expected to conduct regular foot patrols of the area they are meant to be protecting. But somehow the thieves were able to enter the property and take the plants from under their noses — a process that would have taken a considerable amount of time given the size and number of plants that were stolen.
The theft was only discovered when detectives returned to the property the following morning.
Aside from the cannabis that was lost, the bungle has also raised concerns about whether any other evidence that could have helped with a future prosecution may have been lost or tampered with by the thieves.
In a statement, a police spokeswoman said: “The organised crime squad is investigating the theft of the cannabis plants and a range of serious drug offences linked to the property. The internal affairs unit is investigating the circumstances surrounding the theft of the plants.”
Vietnamese nationals Vuong Xuan Bui, 61, and Thi Tuyet Trang Vo, 41, have been charged with cultivating a prohibited plant with intent to sell or supply.
They were remanded in custody on Friday and are due to face Perth Magistrate’s Court today.