A 16-year-old girl spent seven hours locked up in a police cell because a woman falsely claimed she had attacked her with a knife, York Crown Court heard.

Claire Marie Fawcett, 39, fell over and cut herself after spending the evening in a pub, said Adam Walker, prosecuting.

Then she told a friend and the police that the girl had caused the injury by attacking her with a knife. She described the non-existent knife in detail.

At 3.30am, police arrested the girl and held her in custody for seven hours and interviewed her as a suspect before releasing her.

One officer spent an entire shift working on the case, scenes of crimes officers attended the place where the woman said she had been attacked and took photographs and other police staff and officers were involved.

“Quite significant police resources were wasted,” said Mr Walker. “But the gravamen of this incident is a 16-year-old in custody for seven hours in the middle of the night.”

Recorder Simon Batiste told Fawcett: “What you did that evening is something which is truly despicable.”

Fawcett, of Mill Lane, Carlton, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

The judge told her: “With a great deal of reluctance, I am prepared to take a chance with you.”

He gave her a three-month prison sentence, but suspended it for two years on condition Fawcett does a six-month alcohol treatment programme and 20 days’ rehabilitative activities.

Her barrister Victoria Smith-Swain said since her lies, Fawcett had taken steps to try and prevent herself committing more offences.

She couldn’t remember the exact details of what had happened that night because of the amount of alcohol she had drunk.

She was tackling her alcohol problem. She also suffered from depression.

The 16-year-old girl had told police she didn’t want to press the matter.

Mr Walker said the incident happened on January 20, 2017.

The court heard Fawcett had five previous convictions, all since October 2015, including drink driving.