Australia

Drug lab raid ruins Australian family's Airbnb holiday

The leaf of a marijuana plant is seen under a hydroponic light Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The family's father described the experience as "the worst family holiday"

An Australian family was caught in a police sting after unwittingly renting a drug house through Airbnb.

Officers on the Gold Coast tourist strip raided the home just after Christmas, seizing hydroponic cannabis from a locked room.

Police held the family at the house for five hours while they were questioned.

The family told the BBC they were asked not to enter the room, which had been blocked with a bookcase, because it was undergoing renovations.

The sound of water rushing through pipes raised their suspicions, but they did not try to enter the room.

Jacquie Young and her partner Dieter Winkler were expecting extended family to arrive at the house when eight plain-clothed officers carrying guns and crowbars arrived at the front door.

"I think we'll be able to laugh about it soon, but at the moment I'm still a bit annoyed because we were so looking forward to the holiday," Ms Young said.

Officers told Ms Young and Mr Winkler that the wiring in the room was "dodgy" and could have caused a fire at any moment.

"A week late I'm still absolutely gobsmacked that people can be so aware of what they're doing and so selfish ... but putting people's live at risk is a really despicable act," she said.

"My middle son was really shell shocked, he just wanted to come home. It was quite frightening."

A 40-year-old woman is expected to face court in February.

Airbnb confirmed the family was refunded A$1800 ($1261; £860) and offered reimbursement for their alternative accommodation.

"While incidents like this are incredibly rare, we take them very seriously... There is absolutely no place for this sort of activity on Airbnb and this property has been banned," a spokesperson for the lodging website said in a statement.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The raid took place at a home in Burleigh Heads, a popular holiday spot for families on Queensland's Gold Coast

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