A MUM who was cleared of breaching lockdown restrictions after she was stopped and searched twice in a single day while trying to shop for essentials says she was left scared she would receive a criminal record.

Anna Worth, 38, denied a charge of being outside of a place where she was living without reasonable excuse during a coronavirus emergency period.

A trial held at Colchester Magistrates’ Court yesterday heard how she was the passenger in a BMW which was stopped by three police cars in Harwich Road, Colchester, on April 9 last year.

Giving evidence, PC Bright said the officers had stopped the car to carry out a drugs search, which returned no results.

The officer said when he asked Miss Worth to explain the purpose of her journey, she replied she had been shopping.

“I had searched the vehicle and there were no items of shopping found within, or on Miss Worth herself,” he said.

Miss Worth disputed this, insisting she had told the officer she and her partner were “going shopping."

PC Bright said he had issued Miss Worth with a warning around following lockdown restrictions.

The court then heard evidence from PC Mond, who spotted the same BMW on Clingoe Hill later that day.

She told the court she wished to stop the car to warn the driver of their speed and followed it to the car park at Hythe Tesco.

Miss Worth was again the passenger and PC Mond issued her with a ticket for breaching coronavirus regulations.

Giving evidence, Miss Worth told the court she had been left so shaken by the first stop, she and her partner had travelled to her home, in Colchester Road, Wivenhoe, without their shopping.

Realising she still needed to buy essentials, the couple and their daughter ventured out to the Hythe Tesco several hours later.

Clearing Miss Worth, Judge Cohen said the prosecution had failed to convince her she had not merely been travelling to the shops on each occasion.

She said: “At this time police were having to deal with things happening very fast and members of the public were having to come to terms with Covid restrictions on their liberty.

“I am satisfied Miss Worth was aware of the regulations and she knew she was not permitted to leave her home unless she had a reasonable excuse.”

Speaking after the trial, Miss Worth, who was represented in court by Philippa Beswick, said: “I have been so worried having this hanging over me for nearly a year.

“I was scared I would get a criminal record.”