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.

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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.

27 comments

  • Was he riding a Chopper? More seriously, the way it is reported then the punishment is totally out of proportion with regards the offence charged - a low level public order offence punishable by an £80 ticket - is there more to it?

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    suffolkbod

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • It just shows how little drama or excitement happens in Sudbury. This is absolutely ridiculous, a complete farce. People, nowadays, really have nothing better to do than to complain about petty things like this. I think it's ridiculous that someone can't ride a bike, naked, in public, for fear that someone will get offended. Who are we to say what people cancannot wear. Pathetic

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    No_name

    Friday, May 27, 2011

  • Nice one Alex! No need for cycle clips either!

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    Mike Derruki

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Read the article! He wasn't fined £500 or anything at all for that matter. He was given an 18 month conditional discharge. That means he was given no punishment for the offence and as long as he's not back in court for anything else in the next 18 months he'll hear no more about it. The £500 relates to court costs following a 'day long trial'. He chose to plead 'not guilty' and have his day in court. He lost and was ordered to make a contribution to the cost of the trial. Had he chosen to plead guilty at the first opportunity he would probably have got a Conditional Discharge then (maybe even for only 12 months as people get credit for early guilty pleas) and significantly lower costs (less than £100). The headline may be attention-grabbing but it's misleading. Anyone being found guilty after trial can expect to pay court costs.

    Report this comment

    jj_uk

    Friday, May 27, 2011

  • Oh for goodness sake! I thought country folk were made of sterner stuff. My mistake, not only do they not have a sense of humour they lack any common sense too! It was a prank and a jolly funny one too. Well done Alex, I say. It's a pity it wasn't captured on video because he would have probably become world famous if he'd posted it on YouTube. Let's hope some cycling clubs get together and organise an annual nude cycle ride through dull, boring, stuffy Acton every year. And don't forget the video camera this time!

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    Driven Roundabend

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • scandalous outcome!!! £500 fine are you serious.. it seems as though a little light hearted joker has to pay the fines of others as well. Girl rips off manor ball room social club, pays back £1 a week springs to mind.. get a sense of humour britain, Lifes to short..

    Report this comment

    nix1978

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Absolutely ridiculous outcome for a harmless prank. The first sentence in this piece reads incorrectly as it omits the all important word "Likely". No one claims to have been offended or suffered alarm or distress. There is plenty of nudity on tv these days but no one in the media gets done for such an offence. From the picture Mr. Purser looks a fairly athletic and photogenic young man, I am sure the young ladies of the village and indeed the older members of the fairer sex would have enjoyed the moment. What a crazy world we live in!

    Report this comment

    Steve Blake

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Where has the sense of humour gone in this world! Mr Humphries i salute your attitude!

    Report this comment

    putput

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Ridiculous sentence for a bit of fun. At the end of the day, so-called "999" calls are supposed to be for "emergencies".

    Report this comment

    martha farquhar

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • What on earth is Britain coming to? It was a bit of lighthearted fun. Why some people are so disgusted and offended by a naked human body is beyond me. The human form is beautiful and should be celebrated.

    Report this comment

    Rhino

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Mr Pursar you have made my day. Fair enough if he had been pulling wheelies, then maybe it would have been inappropriate, and agreed with Fat Lady Sings re. the helmet. However, £500 fine for that...really? If someone had been caught speeding through the villiage and putting kids lives in danger they would have received less than one eighth of the fine imposed...it should be relative!

    Report this comment

    Mr T

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • It could have been worse. It could have been me! Try not to even think about it. The mental picture of a naked Bill Plod cycling round your village is not something you'd want to contemplate.

    Report this comment

    PC Plod

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Isn't this sexist? Women are displayed naked or provocatively dressed everyday in the media (Sun -page 3) on billboards, everyday tv, etc. etc. and they don't get fined £500 each time. Nor does it get taken seriously when someone finds it offensive! Double standards.

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    sue douglas

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Sounds like peaceful protest against the government use of the tyrant speed camera to make money money money! Well done Mr Purser! Unfortunately, just like with speed cameras, the real wrong doers are never caught.... As for distress to onlookers, really?!? Have we really started to take life that seriously? My neice and nephew, aged 6 and 3, would have found the whole thing hilarious I am sure.

    Report this comment

    emu

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

  • @Johnthebap... If we fined everyone who offended anyone then we would all end up paying fines every week. Here's to being offended! And thereby challenging our hang-ups and judgements! Body shame is not something we should be proud of and neither should we be force feeding it to our children.

    Report this comment

    Fat Lady Sings

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

  • haha... well done Mr Purser, You managed to breath some much needed life into a particularly dull little village... Although the wingers and whiners quoted are right, you should be setting a good example to the kids... next time you cycle naked through Acton please wear a cycle helmet!

    Report this comment

    Fat Lady Sings

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • What a waste of police time!! While there is a group of thugs going around villiages like acton, waldingfield, sudbury etc stealing catalytic converters armed with golf clubs for who ever gets in there way they would rather concentrate on stuff like this and turn a blind eye to real crimes!!! makes you mad... pathetic.

    Report this comment

    S A

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • As the majority of the comments here prove, the majority of the public are not offended by nudity, more often than not they are amused by it. That applies to children as well. We commissioned a survey some years ago and this showed that 88% of the public consider nudity to be 'harmless'; only 7% considered it 'disgusting'. The statistics did not differ even when taking into account whether the respondents had children or not. So this young man's future is to be blighted by a criminal record because a very small minority don't have a sense of humour.

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    BritishNaturism

    Sunday, May 29, 2011

  • Riding a bike naked and a man exposing himself are two different circumstances, it just goe,s to show how many super sensitive, kneejerkers there are, where as some good old common sense would not go amiss. but i suppose that has been band by health and safety.

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    richard

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

  • When the judicial system fails to hand down punishments we criticize them; now we criticize them for punishing this man. He did something which HE thought was funny, but which offended others .... the law exists to protect the 'others'. If any of the letter writers here thinks this is funny then if you have children I hope you have a good laugh if ever they come home upset because a naked man has exposed himself to them. I suspect you will be dialling 999 at once and rushing out to find the man to 'deal with him'. As for women and double standards; if a woman was cycling naked through a village then i think she would be treated the same. The fact that naked women are featured in certain of our newspapers is a separate issue .... I don't agree with it (and I am certainly no prude) but I note that many of our politicians fall over themselves to court favours from owners and editors of such papers and to write columns for them. So in many ways, not just on this issue of nudity, the rot starts at the top.

    Report this comment

    Johnthebap

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • For goodness sake, what a fuss! There's nothing 'disgusting' about nakedness - that's all in the mind of the observer. It can be pretty funny though! £500 a bit steep, imo

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    birdsnest

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • A living legend ! What an absolute waste of Police time and money taking this prankster to court. He has done, what we all would have liked to have done (if we had the bicycle clips to do it !) and poked fun at the system. A genuine piece of harmless fun with no malice intended. Vincent Humphries, you are a top man and saw this joke for what it actually was, simply a joke. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) we are not all blessed with the body to try and carry this type of prank off, good luck to Mr. Purser. The fine was totally out of proportion, a slap on the wrist from the Police would have been enough in this case. I disagree with PC PLOD, what would have made it even more amusing, would have been him chasing Mr. Purser on a bike just with his helmet on ! Bring back the carry on films !

    Report this comment

    dean james

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Do you ever proof-read your articles?

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    Mike Rotch

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Okay I admit this is not everybody's cup of tea - but a £500 fine!! Has our sense of humour totally gone?

    Report this comment

    Red Robbo

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • There would have been far more alarm and distress if people had seen me naked on a bike!

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    Origami Penguin

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Once again martha farquhar uses her limited vocabulary by using her favourite descriptive words... "at the end of the day"

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    Al K Hall

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Anyone who is distressed by the sight of a naked body has some serious hang ups. Blaming it on the Children is an excuse; children are not born with body shame, they have it drummed in to them by their parents.

    Report this comment

    Duncan Heenan

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

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