An Australian man has been charged with damaging a diplomatic residence after ramming his car into the gates of the US embassy in Canberra.

Adrian Richardson, 30, appeared in a magistrates court after his arrest and was charged with damage to premises of internationally protected person.

Richardson allegedly turned off his headlights and revved his engine before deliberately crashing into the gates of the American compound in the Australian capital.

Fire-fighters, police, ambulances and the bomb squad were called to the scene immediately after the incident on Wednesday evening.

US ambassador Jeffrey Bleich was at home at the time, police said.

Nothing suspicious was found although the crash caused “significant damage to the gate and breached the perimeter of the embassy,” prosecutor Katrina Musgrove told a court hearing in Canberra on Thursday.

Richardson, who was not injured, had just left an adult mental health facility, where he had been a resident, shortly before the incident.

He was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation, AFP reports.