A New Zealand man who claimed he was raped by a wombat and that the experience left him speaking with an Australian accent has been found guilty of wasting police time.
Arthur Cradock, 48, from the South Island town of Motueka, called police last month to tell them he was being raped by the marsupial at his home and needed urgent assistance.
tCradock, an orchard worker, later called back to reassure the police operator that he was all right.
"I'll retract the rape complaint from the wombat, because he's pulled out. Apart from speaking Australian now, I'm pretty all right you know. I didn't hurt my bum at all."
He pleaded guilty in Nelson District Court to using a phone for a fictitious purpose and was sentenced to 75 hours' community work.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Stringer told the court that alcohol played a large role in Cradock's life.
Judge Richard Russell said he was not sure what had motivated Cradock to make the extraordinary claim.
In sentencing Cradock, he warned him not to do it again.
Wombats are native to Australia and are not found in New Zealand. Although powerfully built and about the size of a small pig, they are very rarely dangerous. There are three species: the widely distributed common wombat and the much rarer southern and northern hairy-nosed wombats.