MANY people are still suffering the fear of being stalked despite the Coronavirus lockdown say police.

Cumbria Constabulary has backed a national campaign to highlight the issue, after they said that predatory perpetrators have continued to target victims online.

National Stalking Awareness Week was launched on Monday and continues until Friday.

Detective chief inspector, Dan St Quintin said: “It is business as usual for Cumbria Constabulary regardless of Covid-19.

"We treat offences such as stalking very seriously and the current pandemic hasn’t changed the level of responses stalking victims would receive.

“The nature of this type of crime is particularly distressing because the perpetrator is directly targeting a person.

"It can also have a devastating effect on the victim and their loved ones, and we will continue to work hard to bring anyone found responsible to justice.

“We receive reports of concerns from victims, family members and organisations and we will always treat reports seriously and we will investigate them.

"I encourage anyone to contact police if you are a victim of stalking or have concerns regarding someone from being a victim of stalking.”

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “Stalking is a very serious crime and it can happen in person or online.

“It creates fear and unrest in victims’ lives and this is just not acceptable and will not be tolerated in Cumbria.

“So many people will assume that stalkers are now at a safe distance due to the Stay at Home order but these criminals are smart and can move their obsession online.

“The Police want to help but they need the public to report it so that they can act.

“If you or someone you know is dealing with a stalker please report it to 101 or 999 in an emergency situation.

“Your report will be taken seriously.”

This week's campaign has been staged by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and the National Stalking Consortium.

They hope to highlight the issue to ensure victims are still supported during the Coronavirus crisis.

The organisations say that stalking is a very serious offence that causes significant harm to victims and their families - and is something that many people face even during the current Covid-19 lockdown where people are being stalked online and through social media.

Perpetrators can stalk victims through things like obsessive phone calls, bombarding with text or social media messages, sending unwanted gifts, abusing their victims online and tracking their location.

To report an incident of stalking, or concerns call Cumbria Constabulary on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively ring CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.

Or contact the National Stalking helpline on 0808 802 0300.