POLICE believe an eight-year-old boy found locked in a shipping container on a marijuana farm had been there for about three weeks as punishment for misbehaving.
A raid on the Elands property, south-west of Port Macquarie, unearthed an elaborate hydroponic dope set-up spread across three shipping containers, with 225 plants in varying stages of growth.
It also discovered a young boy locked in a 2sqm room at the back of a container, with only a single mattress and a bucket. A small window let in light.
He told police he was only let out to do chores after being locked in there for about three weeks as punishment for being naughty.
The 28-year-old fiance of the boy's mother was bashed in jail after his arrest on Christmas Eve and has been moved to protective custody.
A woman and another man were also arrested.
Three other children, aged between one and nine years, living on the property have been placed into care.
The raid uncovered about $500,000 worth of drugs.