CANNABIS was found 'growing wild' in public woodland by police officers on a routine patrol in High Wycombe.
Police Community Support Officers discovered gardening equipment and 76 cannabis plants in a meshed-off area of land off Abbey Barn Road.
Officers say they believe the drugs were deliberately planted and were being cultivated.
Inspector Michael Morland said: “Horticulture is usually described as a relaxing hobby, but it appears our green fingered suspects have been nurturing the wrong kind of plant - an illegal class B plant.
“Spades, protective mesh and other equipment were found at the location. It is clear that cannabis had been planted and was growing wild, and some time and effort has been put into growing these plants.
“It is unusual for cannabis to be grown outside, as on most occasions it is grown out of the public’s view.
“To reassure residents my team have dug up the plants and destroyed them, and an investigation has been launched.
“We believe the suspects are local, with a good knowledge of the layout of the area; they have most probably tended these plants on repeated occasions.”
The officers were on patrol in the area when they noticed three men exiting the shrubland at about 4pm on Friday.
The PSCOs spoke briefly to two of the men at the scene, while the third fled.
On further investigation, the officers discovered the plants and took them away to be destroyed.
The men were seen getting into a white car – believed to be a Vauxhall Astra – and driving towards Daws Hill and Flackwell Heath direction.
Police said all three men are white and were wearing grey tracksuit bottoms.
Two of the men had distinctive tattoos on the right side of their necks, one was wearing a blue hooded top and the other had a blue jacket on.
Insp Morland added: “I want to make it clear that the production and cultivation of cannabis is illegal. It is linked to serious health implications and is often linked to other serious criminal activity.
“I am urging members of the public who can provide any information on the identities of these men to please make contact with my team.
“I would also like to appeal directly to the three men to make contact with us and assist with our enquires.
“There is confidential help and support for drug addiction that can be found at www.talktofrank.com”
Contact police on the 101 non-emergency enquiry line or, alternatively, the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111 with any information.