A clubber who claimed she was sexually assaulted after a night out has been cautioned after admitting she made it up.

Police were called after the woman said she was dragged into an alley at 3am by four men before being indecently assaulted by two of them.

She claimed the assault happened after she went clubbing in McClusky’s in Kingston on Saturday, February 18, but she was arrested three days later after investigations failed to corroborate her story.

She then told police her claims were a fabrication.

Detective Inspector Andy Gallagher said: “Many hours of police time were spent on this investigation, including on extensive CCTV viewing and witness inquiries.

“This took resources away from genuine inquiries with genuine victims. The victim was lucky to simply receive a caution for this appalling waste of police time as it was her first offence.

“We will continue to deal with any allegations of sexual crimes with sensitivity and speed and will always listen, but we will not tolerate false and time-wasting allegations and will pursue the people who make them.”

Anyone who makes up an allegation of rape could face a charge of perverting the course of justice, according to the Crown Prosecution Service. A lesser charge of wasting police time carries a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment and a £2,500 fine.

Yvonne Traynor of Rape Crisis South London warned the case would deter women who had been assaulted from coming forward.

She said: “[False allegations] very, rarely happen.

“I do not want the public to think this is a common occurance.”

She said police research showed the number of false reports across all crimes was 3 per cent and she was worried stories about false allegations might make jurors less likely to believe alleged victims.

Earlier this month, borough commander Martin Greenslade said an 11 per cent rise in other sexual offences in the past year was linked to clubs, bars and late-night drinking in Kingston town centre.

Speaking in the same week London’s top prosecutor Alison Saunders said victims could be wary of coming forward for fear of being demonised in court and the media.