Magistrates heard the 36-year-old sent 686 texts to the victim, who he was prohibited from contacting by a restraining order.

A Torrington man has been spared jail after breaching a restraining order for the fourth time.

Paul Bradley, 36, of Greenbank, sent 686 text messages to the victim, his former girlfriend, between December and February.

He pleaded guilty to the breach of the order, which runs until September, at North Devon Magistrates Court on Friday.

Prosecutor Lyndsey Baker said the texts amounted to a total of 138 pages when logged by police.

She said they varied from telling her he loved her and wanted contact, to making ‘coersive’ threats and ‘unpleasant’ messages.

Tony Dart, defending, said Bradley had been contacted by the victim when he was released from prison and thought their relationship was back on.

They exchanged some messages but the victim stopped replying and Bradley continued to text her.

She arrived home on February 22 to find her patio windows damaged and when police arrived she told them about the text messages.

Ms Baker said the victim admitted contacting Bradley but said she was frightened of him.

But Mr Dart said Bradley had not contacted her since that night and has now realised their relationship is over.

He added: “He tells me she makes contact with him, then when she’s tired of him, she calls the police and says he breached the order.”

The court heard Bradley had been working with probation as well as RISE, and is on a methadone script.

Magistrates decided to impose a six-week custodial sentence, suspended for six months.

Jane Kivlin, chairman of the bench, said: “You’ve got good support, you’re making progress; keep it up.”