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A NZ man who rang emergency services claiming he'd been left speaking Australian as a result of rape by a wombat has been sentenced to 75 hours' community service, stuff.co.nz reports.

Nelson District Court heard earlier this week how on the afternoon of 11 February, 48-year-old orchard worker Arthur Ross Cradock initially phoned the police communications centre threatening to "smash the filth" if they came to his Motueka home, but confirmed he had an emergency.

A second call revealed the exact nature of the crisis when Cradock told the operator: "I've been raped by a wombat."

Cradock requested police intervention, but shortly after called for a third time to cancel. He said: "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.''

Cradock was subsequently charged with "using a phone for a fictitious purpose". Police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Stringer told the court "alcohol had played a big part in [his] life", although defence lawyer Michael Vesty claimed booze "was not a problem that day".

Judge Richard Russell unsurprisingly admitted he was "not quite sure what motivated Cradock to make those statements to the police", and in sentencing warned the defendant "not to do it again". ®

Bootnote

One of the El Reg editorial team hails from New Zealand, and apparently spent all day yesterday attempting to prevent this story falling into the hands of the Friday Bootnotes department. I'm obliged to the three readers who quite rightly alerted me to it.

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