A vineyard operator has been found guilty of cultivating more than 100 cannabis plants and concealing them alongside vines at his estate in Berri, South Australia.
Police stumbled upon the conspicuous crop, hidden among the vineyard, while responding to reports of ‘gunshots’ from a nearby winery, as reported by The Advertiser.
This disturbance turned out to be a faulty gas gun used to scare off birds from the vines. However it led to the discovery of 113 cannabis plants individually staked and wired to the rows of vines.
The plants were immediately removed by police, who returned the following day to find vineyard operator Sotirios Koutouzis, 43, scanning the area in search of the exotic plants.
Following his arrest, police found a further 170 cannabis plants in a hydroponic set up and 5.262kgs of cannabis stored in freezers at his home, according to local reports.
Koutouzis was found guilty of two counts of cultivating a large commercial quantity of controlled plants for sale and trafficking in a commercial quantity of a controlled drug.
He will be sentenced later this month.