A WOMAN has been cautioned for perverting the course of justice after she falsely claimed she was mugged.

Trainee accountant Jodie Chapman said she was grabbed her by her wrists and had her phone and purse stolen.

Essex Police issued a witness appeal after Jodie, 20, claimed she was attacked yards from the front door of her office on the morning of Monday September 26.

In an interview with The Gazette, she claimed she’d been left in fear by the attack.

She also said she needed a tetanus jab from her GP after the scuffle left her wrist scratched.

But now police have said after “extensive investigations” the incident in London Road, Kelvedon, never happened and Jodie had, in fact, lost her mobile phone and purse.

A police spokesman said Jodie admitted the allegation was false and she had been cautioned for perverting the course of justice.

When contacted by The Gazette Jodie at first said she was unaware of the police caution before saying she was busy at work and the matter was between her and police.

Jodie declined to comment further when asked where she had sustained her injuries.

During the Gazette interview, Jodie said she had been mugged as she was walking to work at Knight Developments.

She said a black Audi A3 had pulled over and added: “As I was within reaching distance, the man on the driver’s side grabbed my wrists and held me against the driver’s side window.

“He snatched my phone out of my left hand. He asked me to put my purse in the car.

“There was another guy sitting in the back seat, that’s what made me panic. I panicked and just threw my purse in.”

Jodie said a second car then approached which spooked her attackers and they sped off.

She continued into work where colleagues called police who arrived a short time later.

Jodie went home to Chelmsford before returning to work a few days later.

Witham MP Priti Patel voiced her concerns over time wasters.

She said: "Police time and resources are precious and every second used on wild goose chases like this is time taken away from tackling real crimes. "Victims of crime should always come forward and my understanding is that incidents like these are thankfully rare.”

No-one from management at Knight Developments was available to comment.