A STALKER who was discovered staying in his victim’s shed later left food at her front door and sent her a note saying, ‘let’s play’.

John Burgess, 39, had been in a relationship with the victim for a couple of months but they had split up in December last year.

The relationship had ended because Burgess had an issue with drugs, Workington Magistrates’ Court was told.

Jacqui Partington, prosecuting, said the victim had tried to stay friendly with him but had then told him to move out of her property in Maryport.

He returned to the property on January 21 and tried to get in. On January 25, the victim was on her driveway, placing her child in the rear of her car when she heard a loud bang from the back of her property.

She saw Burgess coming out of her shed and it appeared he had been staying there. She hadn’t been aware of this.

The victim told Burgess she would call the police if he didn’t go. She got in the car and the defendant was shouting at her. He then landed two punches on the windscreen, causing it to crack.

Burgess was interviewed by police and declined to answer any questions. He was released on police bail not to approach the address.

On March 3, the victim said she came home and noticed a plastic bag on the front door, which had food in it. The following day, a handwritten note had been placed through the door.

It said, ‘If you think this is over, you are so, so wrong. If you want to play games, let’s play.’

The victim said she felt scared to be in her own home and was considering moving. She feels she is ‘looking over her shoulder’ and now always checks the shed before going in her house.

Ms Partington said the defendant had a criminal record which included some domestic violence incidents.

Mike Woolaghan, defending, said Burgess had some ‘complex problems’ with a history of previous offending and addiction issues.

He told the court: “His addiction of choice at the moment is alcohol. He has spent the whole of the weekend in custody and was taken to hospital for a short period for alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

“He was being considered for the Peter Street accommodation but unfortunately, I have learned that is not available for him.

“He is living in a tent in Castle Park, Whitehaven. He has moved himself from the Maryport area, away from the complainant.”

Burgess, of no fixed abode, Maryport, pleaded guilty to stalking involving serious alarm or distress and criminal damage under £5,000.

Magistrates imposed an 18-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Burgess was fined £120 and ordered to pay £100 in compensation for the windscreen. He must also pay a £114 victim surcharge.

A restraining order was imposed which bans the defendant from contacting the victim by any means or going to an address in Maryport.