Dr Alan Billings is urging men and women who feel they may be a victim of stalking to come forward and talk to the police. Friday 24 April is National Stalking Awareness Day.

The last 12 months show 20 crimes recorded across South Yorkshire. This is a low figure and may suggest an under-reporting.

The Commissioner believes this is, therefore, a time for people to take action.

He said: “Stalking is a very serious matter. It may seem harmless at first, but can result in bad outcomes – from depression and anxiety to violence. I would urge anyone who feels they are a victim of stalking to report it immediately to the police and receive advice on how to keep safe.

“Signs that you may be being stalked are: receiving unwanted gifts; finding someone is everywhere that you are; constant emails, telephone calls and text messaging along with declarations of love which then lead to threats of violence.

“Anyone who suspects they are being stalked should be extremely careful what they put on social media accounts as stalkers may use this information to find out about their interests, family, school or place of work and even their plans for the evening.

“There are many laws the police can use to end stalking and harassment. Victims should not have to live a life of fear because of the behaviour of others. Stalking can be life-changing and must be stopped before it becomes a very serious matter.”

If at any time you feel threatened or unsure, call the police on 101 or 999 if you are in immediate danger.