What is ‘swatting’? - Chris Brown, Tom Cruise and Justin Bieber fall victim to the latest celebrity pranking craze


What do Tom Cruise, Kim Kardashian's mum, and now Chris Brown have in common? They have all been the victims of a rather unfunny practical joke pulled by a mysterious prankster.

According to celebrity gossip site TMZ an unidentified caller rang 911 yesterday afternoon, claiming that a couple were in a fight and the man had gone to another room to get a gun. LAPD sent a group of armed police (or SWAT team - hence the term "swatting") to the address, which turned out to be Chris Brown's. The report was false and Brown was not home at the time.

The case bears similarities to an incident last Friday when someone made a false report of a man with a gun at the home of Kim Kardashian's mother and stepfather, Kris and Bruce Jenner.

The same thing happened to Tom Cruise last week, when a SWAT team was dispatched to his luxury LA mansion, following a false report of a gunman. Other victims include Miley Cyrus, Simon Cowell and Justin Bieber.

The police are understandably irritated. Not only does the prank waste time, by diverting emergency service resources away from real emergencies, it could indirectly cause injury or even death.

So, is it all the same culprit? Or is Hollywood in the grip of a swatting epidemic?