A Sydney teenager has been released without charge after he apparently accessed a website that generated a bogus police report about a shooting at his home.
Police descended on the Arncliffe home about 4.40am on Wednesday after receiving a report about a shooting, with claims that two people were tied up and a woman had been sexually assaulted.
The sham report was made online to a Queensland call centre, which then contacted the emergency service triple-0.
On arriving, police established a perimeter around Bonar Street and made contact with 18-year-old Mathew McGrath, who had been asleep inside the house. He surrendered without incident and was arrested.
No one was injured. After a search of the house, police said they found no evidence to support any of the initial claims made to emergency services.
Police seized three laptop computers and a smart phone for forensic examination.
Mr McGrath, who has since been released from custody, told his mother the fake report was generated by a website he accessed.
The message – which gave the appearance of having been sent by Mr McGrath – said that he had tied up his father and a friend and was planning to shoot them because they had sexually assaulted his mother.
Before being taken into custody, Mr McGrath had told his mother that he was the victim of "IT swatting".
Swatting is a prank where a fake report of an ongoing incident is made to emergency services, with the intention of getting crews dispatched to the scene.
Many celebrities have been the target of swatting pranks, including Justin Timberlake, Tom Cruise, Justin Bieber and Rihanna.
In the US, calls falsely reporting bombs, gunmen or hostage situations have resulted in responses from police SWAT teams.
A neighbour, Ray Anderson, said he woke to find news crews and about 20 police in his street.
He described Mr McGrath as as "nice lad".
"Until the police arrived there was nothing happening, everything was silent. I was sound asleep.
"Then there was a big light put on the street and that's what woke me up," Mr Anderson said.
Police said the matter is being investigated as a public mischief incident.
The story 'Swatting': Sydney teenager released after predawn raid on home first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.