Police chopper, 20 armed officers and dog units surround rural home after youth waves replica firearm at people in Albany.
An 18-year-old put himself and his family at risk as armed police swooped on his Auckland home, after he allegedly waved a replica gun around while driving.
Police say members of the public called 111 "concerned and scared" after seeing the man - a passenger in his friend's car - waving his gun around menacingly in Albany, on the North Shore.
A full police response was triggered just before 10am yesterday, and saw about 20 armed officers descend on a rural Paremoremo property, with support from dog units and the Eagle helicopter.
Senior Sergeant Steve Pivac said the public was particularly edgy about seeing guns in public, especially in the days following the Sydney siege.
"He was waving it about in such a manner that he was trying to make it obvious he had it.
"It's impossible to tell the real from the replicas, so we have to have a uniform approach."
Mr Pivac said the 18-year-old had put himself and his parents at fairly serious risk.
"We were armed, surrounding the house. We're ready to go, and if whatever risk is there, we need to take immediate action.
"The risk for him is high. The potential can be quite devastating."
As armed police encircled the house, with the Eagle helicopter above, the two youngsters with the gun came outside as police made a phone call to the house.
The pair were instructed to walk backwards out of the house with their arms in the air, before lying face down on the ground, "spreadeagled". The teenagers were arrested and handcuffed.
The parents - both company directors - were also ordered out of their home by telephone, and the house was searched.
Inside, police found five replica firearms, all of which were "disturbingly realistic".
"The replica gun alleged to have sparked the callout was so realistic that it wasn't until officers were able to handle it themselves and look at it closely that they were able to tell it was a fake," a police spokeswoman said.
Aside from the "big monetary cost" of the operation, Mr Pivac said the teenager's actions had also taken a large number of police officers away from their general duties.
"It's a huge drain on resources that would otherwise be spent on preventive policing."
The 18-year-old was to be charged with presenting an object resembling a firearm and was due to appear in the North Shore District Court next week.
His father, the managing director of a ventilation systems company, had no comment for the Weekend Herald last night.
But a neighbour concerned about the police action described it as "overkill", saying she had been more worried about the Eagle helicopter flying low over her home than anything the teenager may have done.
"It almost hit our barn, it was so low."
The woman said the boy and his family were from England but had lived at their Paremoremo home for about six years.
Additional reporting, Mathew Dearnaley