A WOMAN lied to the police a car she had hired had been stolen after it was used by drug dealers involved in a high-speed pursuit.

Nicole Skinner, 23, from Newport had rented a blue Audi A3 that was later abandoned in the Moorland Park area of the city following the chase.

The defendant had been “intimidated” into making a false claim to the police that the vehicle had been stolen because she “feared for her safety”.

Nicola Powell, prosecuting, said Skinner had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice on the basis she was not in the car at the time.

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This was accepted by the Crown as was her claim that “she had no knowledge it would be used in the supply of drugs”.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how the defendant had allowed others to use the A3 after she had paid £1,000 to hire it on April 28, 2023.

The police chase through Newport took place a few days later and that’s when Skinner was “put under pressure” to tell the police and the hire company that it had been stolen.

The defendant then made a false statement to the police.

She was arrested nearly three months later on July 23 when she confessed in her police interview that she had been lying about the theft.

When officers searched Skinner’s home they found six snap bags of cannabis.

The defendant also pleaded guilty to possession of the class B drug.

She has no previous convictions.

Hilary Roberts representing Skinner said his client had spent 10 days remanded in custody following her arrest before she was granted bail.

She had also spent 265 days on an electronic tag.

“Being remanded in custody was a harsh lesson for her,” Mr Roberts told Judge Shomon Khan.

“She was intimidated into this and we would invite your honour to consider her previous good character.

“The defendant has got a good job and settled accommodation.”

Judge Khan told Skinner: “This has not been an easy sentencing exercise.

“There was an element of coercion and the prosecution doesn’t seem to challenge that.”

He said this was an “exceptional case”.

Skinner, of Tydu View, Rogerstone, who was emotional in the dock during the hearing, was sentenced to a 12-month community order.

The defendant must carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and complete a five-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Skinner must pay £700 costs and a £114 surcharge.

Defendants linked to the car chase are due to be sentenced next month.