AN Ingleton man has been jailed after pleading guilty to stalking involving serious alarm/distress.

Mark Stephens, 54, subjected his victim to a lengthy and terrifying ordeal over a period of 18 months in which she felt like a prisoner in her own home. Stephens followed her as she went about her daily life and upon taking her car to a garage for a routine check, the victim discovered it had been fitted with a tracking device.

He was sentenced at York Crown Court to two years and six months in prison and issued with a lifetime restraining order to protect his victim.

North Yorkshire Police Detective Sergeant, Ian Philips said: “Stephens is a manipulative individual who made his victim feel terrified as she continued her day-to-day life. He set about befriending members of the local community in order to turn them against her, a calculated move to increase his victim’s feelings of isolation.

“Only now that he will be serving his prison sentence can she begin to rebuild her life, knowing that she is safe.

“The victim has shown a great deal of bravery in reporting this to the police and we would encourage anyone who feels threatened by the behaviour of an individual or who is experiencing any form of stalking or harassment to get in touch with us. We are here to help and support you, no matter what you are going through.”