a WOMAN has narrowly avoided jail after falsely claiming to police she had been held up at knifepoint and attacked by a man in a field.
Amanda Smith, aged 21, of Wordsworth Avenue, Parson Cross, told officers she had been attacked while walking her dog in a field near Donovan Road in May last year.
She provided a full statement to police, stating she recognised the suspect, and she gave a name to the detectives.
Her claims, in May last year, led to police dispatching the force helicopter and sending a dog handler to search the area.
The named suspect was later arrested at his home and held for a number of hours while he was quizzed before being released on bail.
But police inquiries later established the man could not have been responsible for the attack, and Smith was charged with perverting the course of justice.
She was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to the offence at Sheffield Crown Court.
Det Chf Insp Tom Whiteley said: “Not only has valuable police time been wasted investigating the serious allegation made by Amanda Smith, but an innocent man spent several hours in police custody.
“People should not underestimate the seriousness of false reporting – it can result in a prison sentence.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “She called police claiming a man had attacked her with a knife while she was walking her dog.
She provided a full statement to the police stating she recognised the suspect and she gave his name to the police.
“Numerous officers, including a dog handler and the force helicopter conducted a search of the area to locate the suspect.
“Later that evening police arrested a local man from his home address.
“He was interviewed about the incident and, several hours later, he was released on bail. Further inquiries proved he could not have been responsible for the alleged assault on Amanda Smith.
“The police again interviewed Amanda Smith.
“She then admitted lying and told officers the offender had actually been wearing a balaclava.
“During a further interview she told the police it was another person she knew and this again was disproved.”