A TEENAGE girl allegedly assaulted in a park was actually injured in a car crash, police have revealed.

The 14-year-old from Annfield Plain, County Durham, suffered facial injuries and a broken collar bone after allegedly being the victim of a "vicious'' attack launched by three other teenage girls.

Police were told that the incident, in which two other girls - a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old - were attacked, happened in a park behind the town's Co-op on Sunday September 7.

The youngster said she was punched to the ground before her attackers ripped out her earrings, kicked her in the face and stamped on her head and body.

Officers were told the assault only stopped when the gang ran off after a passing motorist got out of her car to help.

Police issued a public appeal for witnesses, saying that the 14-year-old could need plastic surgery.

But their inquiries have revealed that the attack never took place and that the girl's injuries were actually sustained in an accident.

A 20-year-old woman from the Stanley area has been charged with wasting police time and motoring offences.

A police spokesman said the girls and her friends had been in a burgundy Ford Fiesta driven by a fourth person that crashed on the A693 at the Greencroft Industrial Estate the same day.

Detective Constable Ian Mitchell said: "Providing false information to the police is a very serious matter.

"In this instance the residents of Annfield Plain were led to believe that gangs of violent teenage girls were attacking innocent people."

The woman who has been charged is due to appear before magistrates at Consett on Thursday, October 2.

Police are also appealing for any witnesses to the car crash, which happened at about 8.30pm on Sunday, September 7, to contact them.

The number for Stanley police station is (01207) 232144.