A Ludlow man has been handed a five-year Stalking Protection Order (SPO) after he stalked a teenage girl.

The 59-year-old man was handed the order at Shrewsbury Magistrates Court on Friday 20 January.

Stalking Protection Orders were introduced in January 2020, and this is the first case in the West Mercia force area where an order has been used to help protect a child. Breaching an order can result in a prison sentence of up to five years.

The order was issued after the court heard how the defendant had followed the girl and monitored her movements to and from school.

Investigating officer PC Ade Davies said: “Throughout this case the victim has shown huge bravery and we’d like to commend her and her family for their cooperation during our investigation and their support in our application for this SPO.”

The order will remain in place for five years and prevents the man from contacting the girl or her family by any means, including on social media.

Detective Inspector Jo Delahay from the Protecting Vulnerable People Department said: “Stalking Protection Orders (SPO) provide another tool for police forces to help protect victims and improve their safety. There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ stalking perpetrator or a ‘typical’ stalking victim as shown by this case. This is the first time West Mercia Police have obtained a Stalking Protection Order where the victim is a child.

“Only the police can apply for the orders, meaning there is no pressure on a victim to make an application. Any breach of the order is a criminal offence and there are wide-ranging powers attached. The maximum sentence for a breach is five years imprisonment.

“Stalking Protection Orders can be obtained for both domestic and stranger stalking so we would urge victims to come forward and reassure them that their concerns will be taken seriously.”

For details of how to report any concerns about harassment or stalking, please visit https://www.westmercia.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/. Always dial 999 in an emergency.