Reports of gunshots have sparked a major police operation in a leafy northern Illawarra street, only for the noises to be attributed to fireworks, three hours later.
More than 20 local and specialist police flooded Buttenshaw Drive at Coledale from 9am Tuesday, after alarmed residents dialed 000.
The road was closed between Cater Street and Excelsior Drive and some residents were evacuated as police homed in on one property, a PolAir chopper keeping watch overhead.
Police took a 41-year-old man into custody at 12.30pm. They allege the man threw fireworks onto his front lawn then retreated inside.
Wollongong Detective Chief Inspector Brad Ainsworth said the man would likely be issued with criminal infringements notices for handling and possessing explosives.
“I can confirm that there was no firearms produced, there were no shots fired. What has happened is he’s let off a number of fireworks,” Insp Ainsworth said.
“Residents phoned 000 under the belief they heard some gunshots.
“We respond in this way as we do for protection of the public and just as part of our standard operating procedures.
“If we get a call about shots fired we can’t just dismiss that. We’ve got to have the specialist resources here.”
Council rangers took two dogs from the property about midday; one has since been returned to the home but the other, a Bull Mastiff/Great Dane cross, was taken to the pound to be destroyed.
According to a council spokesman, the animal was declared a dangerous dog following an incident more than three years ago. Its fate was sealed on December 21, 2018, when it attacked a neighbourhood goat.
According to a council spokeswoman, rangers have since visited the home five times, trying but failing to seize the dog for destruction.
Rangers were brought in to assist police on Tuesday, the spokeswoman said.
“Under the Companion Animals Act, once a dog has been declared dangerous, if it attacks again, it will be euthanised,” she said.
Whether the second dog was involved in the December 21 attack remains under investigation.
Tuesday’s operation ended after police negotiators spoke to the man on his mobile phone, and he handed himself in.
The man is a carer to his elderly mother. The woman remained at the home throughout Tuesday’s operation and was never in any danger, police say.
A resident, Gerry Sont, was among those who heard what sounded like gunshots.
“There were eight shots at about 8am, then a bit of a break for a while, then I heard a volley or nine or 10 later in the morning, about 10am,” he said.
Other residents described the man as "irate" and said he had "gone berserk" that morning.
Several residents were caught out by the road closure and were unable to return to their homes throughout the operation.