back to article Naked cyclist streaks through Suffolk village

A Suffolk man has discovered to his cost that the courts do not consider cycling naked through sleepy villages a "fun" activity for a Monday afternoon. Alexander Purser, 23, was driving through Acton, near Sudbury, on 7 June last year when he "spotted a community speed watch group in a lay-by on the side of the road". He went …

COMMENTS

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  1. HollyHopDrive

    sounds like....

    ...a load of bollocks to me.

    1. Marvin the Martian
      Childcatcher

      Especially the "there's a lot of children in the village" part

      Ever been to Acton? It's as villagey as Slough on a bad day.

  2. Joe Blogs

    FFS

    It's a limp penis, WTF is wrong with the world that seeing a limp penis go past can cause distress? It's just another part of the human body!!!

    Seeing Community Speed watch groups would give most people more "distress" than a penis!!

    1. Slartybardfast
      Happy

      Community Speed watch groups

      Actually seeing a Community Speed watch group would give me the willies.

      .

    2. Mark 65

      @Joe Blogs

      In this case maybe, but there surely would have been bedlam if it were an upstanding member of the community.

  3. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alert

    Just as we he didn't...

    ....get his sprockets caught in his chain!

  4. Mad Mike
    Unhappy

    Britain........humour.........judges........

    Doesn't really compute. Strangely enough, the man from the community speed trap gave the best answer. All really rather fully and nothing to get worries over. Everyone else screaming paedo and generally going into headless chicken mode. Do they really believe children haven't seen naked people before and do they really believe bringing them up in such a repressive way is good for them? My kids would kill themselves laughing and taking the p**s out of him.

    Britain is really going backwards.

    1. eezatehgeeza
      Thumb Up

      Here here!

      You said it all - which sort of makes this post pointless... Oh!

    2. Elmer Phud

      Does this mean . . .

      . . .that when our kids were really little it wasn't the simplest thing to do by just getting in the bath as well. I had no idea that being nekkid would traumatise the little dears - even though small children tend to spend most of the summer with no clothes on.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      here here

      ALSO.

      We are going backwards, we will end up a neo-religious freakshow state just like america.

  5. Richard 120

    How ugly was he?

    Nakedness causing alarm or distress in kids?

    Only if they bust a gut from the laughing.

    1. LaeMing

      Human bodies!

      Icky, yucky, disgusting things. Anyone with one should be locked up!

  6. Marky W
    Pint

    The world needs more Alexanders

    Many comments will no doubt focus on a village apparently stocked with Mary Whitehouse clones, so I'd like to say 'well done, that man' to Alexander.

    If more people were willing to inject a bit of fun (risque or otherwise) into life, we'd all be a lot, lot happier. So, Alexander, have a pint on me.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Will no-one think of teh children?

    Oh no, what if they were ever to see a naked body? It would undoubtedly destroy them forever. OMG! They all have bodies of their own! What if they were to see themselves naked?

    Clealy, we must stab all their eyes out at birth, for their own protection.

  8. Graham Lerant
    WTF?

    No Humour, We're British

    Criminalised for a harmless wheeze.

    That sums up the U.K. Humourless, joyless, politically correct morons.

    1. Richard IV
      Pint

      That's an idea!

      How about petitioning for a "Wooster defence" for minor offences?

      The defence will only be applicable for the wheeze if successfully implemented, so trying and succeeding to knock off a policeman's helmet will be OK but hitting the policeman in the attempt won't be.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      And yet...

      ...we still can't get our beach towels on the loungers before the Germans.

      Humour-less *and* inefficient. Not a good combination.

  9. Neil Brown

    "Thanks to Nigel Brown for the tip-off."

    Something caught in the spokes?!

    Ouch...

    1. Nigel Brown
      Unhappy

      Damn damn damn

      Beat me to it.

      First time I'd left the PC all morning............

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please

    What about the children?! Won't somebody please think of the children!?

  11. Cameron Colley

    You have to hand it to the laws of this country.

    It is not illegal to be naked in public -- but if you appear naked in public you're likely to receive some sort of legal reprimand.

    Perhaps it's time the courts stopped being so fucking prudish and put a stop to this nonsense?

  12. TRT Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Conditional discharge?

    That'll be down to the cobbled streets.

  13. Bernard M. Orwell

    The title is required, and must contain pictures or it didn't happen...

    A "a community speed watch group in a lay-by on the side of the road" failed to have a sense of humour?

    Who'd have thunk it, eh?

    1. lIsRT
      Stop

      Read the article please.

      "The co-ordinator of the speed watch group, Vincent Humphries, tended to agree. The 61-year-old told the court: "It's not every day you see something like that. I was laughing. It didn't offend me at all.""

  14. Chris Miller
    Big Brother

    Won't someone think of the children?

    Has he been placed on the sex offenders' register?

    1. BritishNaturism
      Stop

      I hope not!

      See my reply to Sir Runcible Spoon above.

  15. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    What charge?

    I'm not clear what law he broke; contrary to most people's opinions and moral judgements, being naked is not a crime in the UK.

    1. Ivan Headache
      Unhappy

      And £500 to boot!

      Where on earth do they get that figure from?

    2. Stephen Usher
      FAIL

      Re: What charge?

      Actually, since a little known update in the law a few years ago, being naked in public is tantamount to being a criminal act.

      Basically, the law was changed so that you could be done for knowingly allowing your genitals to be on view so that it may cause alarm or distress. It doesn't matter is no-one is there to be alarmed or distressed or if anyone is, just that there could be.

    3. tas
      Coat

      Maybe the distress was because ...

      ... he didn't have a helmet?

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Sir

        I was a little surprised to see our local youth cricket team taking to the field completely stark bollock naked apart from pads/gloves etc. (no boxes though!)

        There families around and no-one seemed to take any offence at all.

        If you were to ask the children what they thought of the naked cyclist they would probably just find it funny. The only reason they would take offence is if an adult taught them to take offence - That's the real crime.

      2. Jolyon

        Monkey business

        Presumably £500 is the price a judge considers the going rate for a naked young man.

        1. BritishNaturism
          Thumb Up

          Spot on Sir Runcible!

          A friend of mine even goes as far as to say that "Prudery is child abuse with good intentions".

          We have a wealth of evidence of this and a dearth of evidence to the contrary despite trying to find it. There is even a long-standing $1,000 reward for anyone who can write an essay making a valid case for harm to children from nudity. This has yet to be claimed.

          See: http://georgedavisdistrictsix.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/1000-essay-contest/

      3. BritishNaturism
        Stop

        Think Again

        Your reference to "alarm or distress" leads me to believe that you are referring to Section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003:

        A person commits an offence of 'Exposure' if-

        (a)he intentionally exposes his genitals, and

        (b)he intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.

        Firstly note the "and" - it is not enough that he "exposes his genitals". The important part is his intentions. The prosecution has to prove that he intended to cause alarm or distress - yet his declared intention was to cause amusement and it would appear he succeeded, certainly as far as his intended audience of the community speed trap is concerned. Also we could look at the reactions of people commenting on this article, including those with children - these kinds of reactions are typical of the majority of people - 88% according to a survey we conducted to support our campaign to get the SOA worded as it is. That same survey showed that just 7% thought nudity was 'disgusting' and only 2% thought it 'criminal'. So has this guy been convicted based on the opinion of just 2% of the population?

        A flasher who singles someone out, approaches them then exposes himself to them is doing so in order to get a reaction that he hopes will be that of alarm. S66 is aimed at that kind of offence and that is very different from a guy trying to create a bit of harmless fun. His intention was to amuse and the likelihood was that he would amuse, just as the World Naked Bike Ride does every year in cities all over the world. Sadly all it seems to take is one or two 'Mary Whitehouse' characters to give him a criminal record!

      4. Malcolm Boura 2

        Knowingly is not the word.

        I am very puzzled by Stephen's comment. There is no statute or common law such as he refers to. He may be thinking of s.66 Sexual Offences Act 2003 but thanks to a lot of very hard work by British Naturism and others it only applies to aggressive nudity. There must be INTENT to cause alarm or distress.

        The defendant believes that he was convicted despite winning the arguments in court but s.5 Public Order Act 1986 is an offence so poorly defined that it is a bigots charter. An appeal is being considered.

        NB. We were not directly involved in the case but we have been corresponding with the defendant.

        Malcolm Boura, British Naturism.

    4. BritishNaturism

      Nor am I

      It is a pity the article didn't say which law he is supposed to have broken and I can't think of one despite knowing quite a bit about how laws are applied to nudity.

      1. Malcolm Boura 2

        The charge was s.5 Public Order Act 1986

        Paraphrased: "If we don't like it, or we think that somebody else might not like it, then it is illegal".

  16. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Very silly move

    > wearing nothing more than his specs and a pair of trainers

    He should have had his helmet on, too. Though the report contains a curious set of priorities:

    "I saw a male on a bike with absolutely nothing on, not even a pair of socks" Hmmm, so that would've been OK, then - depending where the sock(s) were worn?

  17. ElectricFox
    Paris Hilton

    Playmobil re-enactment

    or it didn't happen

    <Paris because she's plastic>

  18. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Really?

    Is it just me or is the most disturbing thing about this is the fact people look at a naked cyclist and think "OH MY GOD IT'S A PEADO! HE'S OBVIOUSLY GOING TO RAPE 100 CHILDREN BEFORE LUNCH!"

    How did they make the connection between a naked adult harmlessly cycling around and child molesting? Who actually thinks like that? What else makes them think of child abuse?

  19. TeeCee Gold badge
    Happy

    What's the big deal?

    It's not like lycra cycling shorts leave anything to the imagination.........

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reading festival some years back.

    A tall skinny guy with a long beard ran naked throught the crowds with a burger in his hand shouting "Has anyone seen my pickles" nobody managed to stop laughing long enough to get offended and the few children who saw it were laughing the hardest.

    Some people need to take the pole out of their ass and grow a sense of humour.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      What, call the RSPCA

      "Some people need to take the pole out of their ass "!!!!

      That must be illegal, cruelty to animals. Wonder how many people do own an ass and stick a pole in it.

  21. peter 45
    Coat

    snigger

    'naked' and 'discharge' in the same headline and no-one spotted it?

    Oh come on people. Keep up!

  22. asiaseen

    999 calls FFS?

    Shouldn't the callers be done for abusing the system?

  23. Forget It
    Facepalm

    500 knickers

    Why 500 pounds costs - who decided that nonsense?

    The poor guy can't even afford clothes!

    He'll either have to sell his bike or his body now!

  24. snellasaurus

    I hope his nuts were tight.

    Quite funny - a good wheeze indeed - reminds me of some of the 'less than fully clad' antics that happened at Uni - thank heavens no one in Bath found that offensive - I am fairly sure I was served and ate a kebab naked from Marmaris just above the Puteney bridge weir!

    On a more serious note whilst I think the fine was unnecessary I am SO glad they did not find a way to put this guy on the register.

  25. yeahyeahno
    Facepalm

    Children could be harm by seeing a naked body?

    What utter rot, how could it possibly harm children? In what way would they be harmed by the sight? What is it about the naked human form that is so harmful to children?

    1. Jonathon Green
      Paris Hilton

      Title? We don' need no steenkin' title...

      "What is it about the naked human form that is so harmful to children?"

      This is England. The majority of us still haven't got over the embarassment of having been born in bed with a (more or less) naked woman...

      --

      JG

      Paris becasue, well, it's compulsory for any post containing the words "naked" and "woman" in the same sentence...

    2. anarchic-teapot
      Joke

      You ignorant fool!

      Seeing a naked body could traumatise children for life! That's why I always make mine take their baths blindfolded.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No such law

    Disgusting waste of public money. There is no such law prohibiting "causing alarm or distress". It is not illegal to be naked in public. I think there are grounds for appeal. Doctor Who causes more alarm and distress to many children.

  27. James Hughes 1

    What he should have done

    Was wear a very minimal skin coloured thong. He would look naked, but wouldn't actually be. I wonder what 'law' he would have broken then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Childcatcher

      butt butt

      how do you feel the wind through your hair if you have something on?

  28. Stuart 22
    Unhappy

    Only One?

    Oh dear - is Suffolk in the same jurisdiction as this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/green-living-blog/2010/jun/14/cyclists-world-naked-bike-ride

  29. Bah Humbug

    a title

    Clearly none of you have been to Acton - the place is as dead as Dunwich. They were probably just so desperate to produce some news, any news, that they decided this was worth bothering with.

    Wouldn't be too surprised if the parish council paid him to do this to get something remotely newsworthy happening there...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone call the police!

    Cycling naked, in an attention grabbing manner, near a school?

    He must have been a paedophile....

  31. Red Bren
    Coat

    £500 for a nudey bike ride?

    He should have given the judge a cheque for a £1000 and cycled home naked!

    Coat? No thanks, it's a sunny day, I'm going au naturel...

  32. The last doughnut
    Unhappy

    How typical

    Getting a bit prudish about nudity is very British.

    Sadly it seems covering our own prudishness in a blanket of fake child-protection is also.

  33. BigG
    WTF?

    File under...

    ...why the country and its local law makers are almost as retarded as The States and theirs.

    G

    1. BritishNaturism

      Quite right!

      And sadly we are likely to start acquiring their rates of teenage pregnancy, if we carry on like this.

      We have studied 14 different nations and shown a very strong correlation between prudish attitudes and high rates of teenage pregnancy, America having a rate that is 10 times that of Denmark at the other end of the scale. I'm sorry to say we are closer to America, having about half their rate at the moment, so 5 times that of Denmark. Interestingly Scotland is a little worse than England and their attitude to nudity is closer to America's than England's is. Need I say more?

  34. Yag
    Joke

    One naked man... Just cycling down the road

    Could cause an heap of trouble for all those concerned!

  35. LuMan
    Joke

    A prize...

    ...for anyone willing to sniff the seat!!

  36. Martin Maloney
    Coat

    Why do I always have to be the one?

    The bloke was a brazen, unrepentant, erm, pedalphile.

    That reminds me of the one about the cycling prostitute who pedal'd her arse all over town.

    Yes, I'm leaving now.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Enlightened Scots

    He needs to come to Edinburgh, we've been doing it for years:

    http://news.scotsman.com/news/Cyclists-gearing-up-to-grin.6774112.jp

    http://news.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Naked-cycle-ride-sparks-protests.2536423.jp

    (2004 picture included - "barely" safe for work, fnarr)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Yeah really enlightened

      The same Edinburgh where Lothian and Borders Police had a change of heart in 2004 and stated that anyone getting nude for any reason would be arrested for "outraging the public decency" after a tirade of whinging from politicians (big surprise), church groups and other religious loonies (big shock again), mothers groups (another shock there) and "community groups" (friends of mary whitehouse, so again a real shock...NOT)

      Despite nudity per se not being illegal, up here in Scotland the police and the judiciary treat it as though it is (see naked rambler) and go out of their way to make sure the conviction sticks (asking if anyone within 3 miles is offended or has children, you know so the media can brand said naturist a pervert, see also recent news story about Fife police warning naturists not to go to any Fife beaches, unless they want to be pursued for indecent exposure (and likely a place on the sex offenders register for life as the naturist is suddenly found to have thousands of "dubious images" on their hard drive) (unlike those tricky cases which need investigation or might require an officer to face something even vaguely hazardous you know like yobs beating up a bystander as its "pure funny like for a laugh", where the police are unable to attend as they are suddenly awfully busy and short staffed and the earliest they could possibly attend is a week next tuesday)

      What is really sickening, is that EVERY political party in Scotland might as well be lead by the church as they all parrot the same lines "Law regarding nudity too permissive" "Lock these weirdy nudeys up" "Must take the most cautious approach to protect "the children" " (even when said "children" are adolescents committing crimes including violent crimes) etc.

      Frankly this entire island would have been greatly improved if the Soviets had invaded...at least they didn't freak out at the first sign of bare flesh. Plus the corruption level might actually drop......

  38. Blubster
    Coat

    Bloody 'ell

    He's got a big cock.... oh no, wait, it's his bicycle pump.

  39. Nick Kew
    Coat

    £500

    ... is probably rather more than the average penalty for a driver whose recklessness kills a pedestrian or cyclist ...

    Perhaps the judge knows something we don't, and this character was driving dangerously before going home and pulling this stunt. In which case, we might call it moral justice through the back door.

    Hmmmm ....

    Nah ......

    You don't get to be a judge with a sense of justice intact. Mine's the shabby mac.

  40. Stevie Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Huzzah!

    The Reg comes up trumps in the title department again!

    Well done that editor!

  41. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Dubious witness

    Wayne Bird, who also copped an eyeful, reported: "I saw a male on a bike with absolutely nothing on, not even a pair of socks."

    The article clearly mentions our streamlined cyclist was wearing glasses and a pair of trainers. I don't think Mr. Bird's account can be trusted.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Causing Alarm and Distress While Riding a Bike?

    Hey! That's my speciality! And bodily harm too, usually to myself :(

  43. Paul Wells
    Thumb Up

    Fremont Solstice Parade

    He needs to get to Fremont for the Solstice Parade on June 12th, we always have a lot of naked cyclists then.

  44. Mike Moyle Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "Bootynote"

    ...Heh.

  45. Ian Yates
    Pint

    Fund

    Can the Reg provide a way for us to buy him a pint? I would, and I doubt I'm the only one

  46. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Stop

    Best keep clear of Cambridge then

    The naked cyclist is quite well know there. And has been for years - He also knows the law in great detail. The police know him and leave him alone. I had a chat with him once.He's a really nice guy actually.

    1. Malcolm Boura 2

      Different naked cyclist

      The well known nude cyclist in Cambridge is Richard Collins. He is currently awaiting the verdict of his trial for cycling nude in across Bournmouth. Again, s.5 Public Order Act 1986.

  47. Alan Firminger

    I have to report

    On holiday outside Colchester, Ca 1985, we walked footpaths near a field that contained a camp for, er, naturist families. Wandering along we passed about fifty, mostly young, with many children, coming the other way along the footpath. We never knew where they were going, perhaps to get some milk. Our children were surprised, intrigued, but in no way troubled.

  48. matooti

    No amenities

    Acton's never heard of public urinals or swimming baths?

  49. Anteaus
    Childcatcher

    Justice system no longer serves public.

    Justice has ceased to be a question of stopping crime, and has shifted its focus to furthering a series of political agendas. The protection of 'vulnerable individuals' -which farcically includes anyone under 18, as well as violent mental-health sufferers- is one such moral panic. Most of ths stuff comes from the EU, and is another good reason for our getting out.

    Round here we've had problems with youth gangs, and in one case these hoodlums were in the roadway, swearing their heads off, and baring their asses to passing traffic.Their parents were sent warning letters. No £500 costs, not even an arrest. It's almost like the caste system in India, if you are one of a favoured group you can get away with anything. But, if you're just Joe Public, woe betide that you put a foot out of line.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Hope it was worth it

    In these harsh economic times (for most if not all) silly crimes like these must really be nice little earners for the courts no?

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A More Targetted Approach

    He should have gone for the old "Scotsman Up a Ladder" trick (e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-0jsm4lYn8 )

  52. SirTainleyBarking
    Joke

    If they wanted to stop him doing this again

    Don't bother with the £500 fine, just confiscate his bicycle seat

  53. Rupert Rumblebum
    Holmes

    Its all balls anyway

    Presumably

  54. Christopher Blackmore
    Big Brother

    I hate wowsers.

    If Dog had meant us to be naked, we would be born that way.

  55. Malcolm Boura 2

    Two British Naturisms!

    The Register is obviously a very superior publication. Two members of the British Naturism executive both reading it and commenting! My appologies for the repetition.

  56. DI_Wyman
    Happy

    eejit..

    ...he had no socks on!

  57. Jamie Kitson

    hmm

    According to this article on the BBC this isn't an offence...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-13727137

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