A WOMAN who had a crash in the Cotswolds was under the influence of a sedative drug prescribed to her in Hungary, Gloucester Crown Court heard.

The night before the accident in Bourton on the Water, Hungarian national Melinda Nemeth, 24, had taken two tablets of Alprazolam - a Class C drug not available on the NHS in Britain.

After the minor collision on May 6 she had difficulty getting out of her car and appeared drunk and unable to stand properly, said prosecutor Julian Kesner.

She had been driving while unfit because of the effects of the drug, which is known as Xanax in America, he added.

Ms Nemeth, of Meadow Way, who was appealing against a sentence received from magistrates earlier this year, had been banned from driving for 17 months and fined £250 with £85 costs and £15 surcharge.

He told the court she was supposed to take no more than one tablet but admitted she had taken 2-3 the night before the collision.

"It has some significant side effects. It causes dizziness, confusion and drowsiness. Those side effects were immediately apparent after this accident," he said.

Lloyd Jenkins, defending, said Ms Nemeth had taken the tablets to help her sleep and in the morning had been fine, even driving to Tesco.

But later, toward lunchtime, she was under some stress because a friend who owed £700 was delaying repayment and there were also work and personal problems.

"She accepts it was an error of judgement. It is quite clear she was a victim of the adverse side effects of the double dosage she had taken the night before."

Judge William Hart, sitting with two magistrates, said the court had been persuaded to take a more compassionate view and he allowed the appeal, reducing the ban to 12 months.