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A murder victim’s two cannabis plants were the likely target of men who shot and killed him in his own backyard, police say.

The 37-year-old’s body was found on Wednesday and police are looking for a small red car and four men seen near the victim’s Paralowie house, in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

Detective Inspector Denise Gray said the killing was not a random incident with the attackers thought to have been after the drugs growing in a backyard shed.

“On searching the premises detectives located two cannabis plants which we believe are the reason this house was targeted,” she said.

“There are real risks associated with growing cannabis.

“There’s a real danger of these sort of incidents happening and violence occurring.

“It’s just not worth losing your life over two cannabis plants.”

Insp Gray said it was possible the killers had been watching the dead man’s home before the murder, making observations.

Such behaviour was common in what was commonly called a “drug rip-off”, she said.

She said nothing had been stolen from the house, including the drugs.

The dead man has not been identified at the request of relatives.

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