A family in south Ottawa were surprised to find more than 100 marijuana plants growing on their property, and police say they're not alone.
The man who owns the property agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because he fears possible retribution.
He told CBC News a neighbour walked onto his family's 12 hectares of densely wooded land on Sunday and dicsovered the marijuana plants growing in a cleared-out area.
Some of the plants were about six feet tall. The man said he and his family normally don't visit the land at the north end of their long, narrow lot.
'We were astounded,' property owner says
The neighbour immediately told the family about what he found, and the man said police responded quickly that same day.
"We were astounded. It had never occurred to us," the man said. "But in retrospect, there are lots of areas back in the woods that are clear. We had a logging company in a few years ago to cull some of our trees.
"It just never occurred to us that these things could happen so close to home, because we're talking probably about 1,000 metres away from the back of our house. Not very far."
The man said a drug squad showed up on Monday to remove all of the plants.
"We've had our property violated. It's unfortunate, and I gather that this happens all over the provinces," he said.
"We're going to have to walk our property more often."
Cases like this 'fairly typical,' police say
Ottawa police Staff Sgt. Mike Laviolette said cases like these are "fairly typical" at this time of year. Marijuana seeds are planted in the spring and typically take about three to four months to grow.
Primary targets for seeding are often corn fields, crown land and remote private property, he said.
"Now is prime time for harvest, so it's not uncommon for us to get calls from landowners frantically looking for some assistance," Laviolette said.
He said anyone who finds marijuana should call police before touching it themselves. Sometimes the plants can be booby-trapped, he said.
Police keep a list of locations where marijuana has been grown in the past. A team sets aside several days each year to go out and harvest the plants.
At this time last year, police said they found more than 2,000 illegal plants growing outside.