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Acton: Naked cyclist told to pay £500 after riding through village wearing only trainers

PUBLISHED: 09:23 25 May 2011

Alexander Purser

Alexander Purser

Archant

A NAKED cyclist who rode around a west Suffolk village wearing only a pair of trainers and some spectacles has been found guilty of causing alarm and distress.

Alexander Purser, 23, was convicted of using threatening words or behaviour, likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress after a day-long trial at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Purser of Vicarage Lane, Acton, had denied causing alarm or distress, claiming he had ridden naked around Acton near Sudbury on June 7 last year because he thought it would be ‘very funny’.

The court heard Purser had been driving along Waldingfield Road in the village when he spotted a community speed watch group in a layby on the side of the road.

Godfried Duah, prosecuting, told the trial Purser had driven home, stripped off all his clothes except some trainers and his spectacles, taken a bike then ridden back towards the speed trap group.

The court heard police received several 999 calls from concerned members of the public, who feared children at the nearby Acton Primary School might see the naked man.

Witness Brenda Bailey said she called the police after she saw Purser riding along Vicarage Lane in Acton around 2.45pm while she was driving her Land Rover.

Speaking in court, Mrs Bailey said: “There are a lot of young children in that village and I am sure they wouldn’t want to see somebody cycling naked.”

Wayne Bird, another witness, also called the police after the taxi in which he was travelling pulled up behind Purser along Vicarage Lane, near Canon Pugh Drive.

“I saw a male on a bike with absolutely nothing on, not even a pair of socks,” he told the court. “It was like he was having a slow stroll on his bike.

“I found it very disgusting, knowing all the children all the children were just about to come home from school.”

Police officers later visited Purser at home on August 25, where he admitted he had been the cyclist seen riding naked through the village.

In police interview, Purser said he had checked his watch before setting off on the jaunt to make sure he had enough time to make it around the village as he didn’t want to be seen by children which, he admitted, would be completely inappropriate.

Purser, who works at Suffolk Ski Centre, said he wanted to see if he could reach 30 miles and hour on his bike naked while travelling through the speed trap.

Giving evidence, Purser told the court: “I thought it would be fun, both for me and the people manning the speed watch.”

Vincent Humphries, 61, was co-ordinator of the speed watch group operating with four volunteers in Acton on the day in question.

Mr Humphries told the court he though Purser was wearing a nude leotard on first sight, before realising he was totally naked.

“It’s not every day you see something like that,” he said. “I was laughing.

“It didn’t offend me at all.”

Paul Booty, in mitigation, said Purser had not intended to cause any alarm or distress.

“It was a jolly good wheeze-marvelllous fun,” he said.

But Joy Watkins-Ellis, presiding magistrate, said the bench had found it was likely Purser was aware his actions would have caused alarm or distress.

Purser was handed an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £500 costs.

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