A WOMAN has admitted wasting more than 200 hours of police time by making a false allegation of kidnap and rape.

Marissa Louise Cheeseman, 37, of Chatham, Kent, claimed to have been abducted by two men as she walked along the street in Whitby.

She was attending Whitby Folk Festival at the time of the alleged offences in August 2017, and claimed she had been asked for directions by a man driving a van, who then forced her into the back of the van alongside another man.

She claimed she was then driven to Middlesbrough and left there after being repeatedly raped by both men.

Scarborough Serious Crime Team immediately launched a major investigation. 25 officers from various departments, including some called in from their rest days due to demand at the time, and officers from Cleveland Major Incident Team, worked on the inquiry.

After more than 208 hours of police time,it became clear the allegations were untrue. Cheeseman was arrested and charged with the offence of causing wasteful employment of police.

She pleaded guilty at Maidstone Magistrates Court and has now been given a 12-month conditional discharge as well as being ordered to pay a surcharge of £20.

Detective Inspector Glenn Kelly of Scarborough Serious Crime Team, said: “The time and resources dedicated to this extremely serious allegation reflected the gravitas with which we regard all such reports.

"It is very frustrating for everyone involved in such an intensive investigation to find that the report was made up. Particularly when there are genuine victims of crime who need our help."

He added: “We may never know what motivated Cheeseman to make such claims, but what is of concern is that false reports undermine genuine victims of serious sexual crime."