A stalking victim said she felt her ordeal became more intense because her tormentor didn’t have anything else to do during lockdown.

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, spoke out as figures showed that Wiltshire Police recorded a rise of almost two-thirds in the number of reports of stalking since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

There were 379 between April 2020 and March this year, compared with 238 the year before. In 2018/19 there were 150 reports.

One victim said: “I think the stalking probably got more intense due to the fact lockdown would have caused boredom and increased obsessive thoughts because he didn’t have anything else to do or think about.”

Another, who also asked not to be named, said: “The stalking has intensified and is now affecting all areas of my life, especially as I was working from home.

“The loss of privacy, increased risk, increase in threats, intimidation and general bullying, harassment and stalking has led to me seeking private counselling.”

Last year, after figures showed a 30 per cent rise in Wiltshire during the first lockdown, Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills told the Adver that the number of reports of cyber-enabled stalking and harassment had increased in particular.

It ranged from people being bombarded with social media messages by former partners to people installing spyware on their victims’ devices.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on stalking, said: “The type of technology you would have had to pay a lot of money for in the past you can now go on to Google and buy relatively cheaply.”

He added:“Without doubt these types of crimes, particularly stalking, destroy lives. What I tend to hear from victims is that they’re left wondering what the perpetrator is going to do next.”

In March, Swindon magistrates heard how mum Stephanie Kendall pestered a fitness instructor with messages after he launched a series of online classes during lockdown.

She later told police she knew her victim did not want her to contact him, but did not know why.

She accepted she used different telephone numbers, saying she “wanted him to be able to contact her if he changed his mind”.

Another defendant, Bedford man Akmol Hussain, travelled to Swindon from his hometown to his ex-partner’s place of work. He also sent her personalised keyrings and sent her new partner an explicit image of the victim.