A naked cyclist who was arrested during a charity bicycle ride has called for more education around naturism.
Stuart Gilmour – who calls himself The Naked Cyclist on social media – told Sky News he was detained in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, on Sunday.
The 44-year-old said he had cycled along the North Wales coast from Prestatyn, where he was visiting for a naturist beach day, to raise money for the mental health charity Mind.
Mr Gilmour was about to turn around and head back towards Prestatyn, some 15 miles away, when he says he was stopped by police.
“I told them that I’m a naturist,” he said.
“I said I’m doing it for charity and also I’ve got the COP (College of Policing) law on naturism.
“I gave them that and they had a look at that but then they rang into the duty sergeant and the duty sergeant made the decision for them to arrest me.
“So they arrest me, they put me in the back of the car and we went to St Asaph’s police station.”
‘I wasn’t doing anything illegal’
Despite the ordeal, Mr Gilmour, who has been a naturist for around 10 years, said the police were “absolutely lovely”.
He added: “Once they’d understood who I was and they’d looked through social media and they’d checked the CCTV footage on the coastal road, they came to the decision that I wasn’t doing anything illegal.”
As well as raising money for Mind with the bike ride, Mr Gilmour, from Manchester, said he also wanted to educate people about naturism.
He said he felt more comfortable without any clothes on and many people did not understand that naturists lead a “non-sexual lifestyle”.
Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, being naked in public is permissible if not done to intentionally cause harassment, alarm or distress.
The Crown Prosecution Service says in the case of naturism, a “balance needs to be struck between the naturist’s right to freedom of expression and the right of the wider public to be protected from harassment, alarm and distress”.
It adds: “In the absence of any sexual context and, in relation to nudity, where the person has no intention to cause alarm or distress, it will normally be appropriate to take no action unless members of the public were actually caused harassment, alarm or distress (as opposed to considering the likelihood of this).”
A North Wales Police spokeswoman told Sky News: “On Sunday 3 September, we received several reports concerning a man being seen riding a bike whilst naked between Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay.
“Officers located and spoke to the man, who was arrested and then later released with no further action taken.”