Charges dropped in Etape Caledonia sabotage case

Council chairman cleared of dropping tacks on disputed circuit

by Tom Henry   January 7, 2010  

Etape Caledonia logo

A lawyer and community council chairman has been cleared of sabotaging the Etape Caledonia race last year after charges against him were dropped by the Crown.

Alexander Grosset, 62, was charged in connection with the scattering of thousands of tacks during the Perthshire event the road closure, which locals say last May.

Several hundred cyclists had their tyres punctured by the tacks in the race, the only one of its kind in the UK where all the roads are closed to other traffic during the event.

According to the BBC, the Crown offered no explanation of why the case was dropped and police have no plans to charge anyone else.

At the time, it was thought that anger around the road closure, which some locals say severely disrupts their movements, had led to an act of sabotage.

The 81-mile ride around Pitlochry on May 17, which attracted around 3,500 competitors, had to be halted for about an hour-an-a-half after the tacks were discovered.

After full and careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances by Crown counsel, it was decided there should be no further proceedings

Mr Grosset - one of a number of vocal critics of the event - was arrested and charged three days later with culpably and recklessly placing carpet tacks on the road.

The church elder and former solicitor from Bridge of Gaur, Pitlochry, was accused of showing a complete disregard for the safety of the participants in the event.

But the Crown Office has now said proceedings will be dropped.

A spokesman said: "We can confirm that the procurator fiscal in Perth received a report concerning a 62-year-old man in relation to an incident on 16 May 2009.

"After full and careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances by Crown counsel, it was decided there should be no further proceedings."

Mr Grosset, who is chairman of the Rannoch and Tummel Community Council, was among people targeted in an internet hate campaign after he was arrested.

The incident received much publicity on message boards and forums, where the home and e-mail addresses of some of those against the race were posted.

Although the criminal charges have been dropped there is still the possiblity that Mr Grosset could be sued in the civil courts, where the burden of proof is lower, by a cyclist or cyclists who suffered damage to their bicycles or equipment as a result of riding over the tacks.

Organisers of the Etape Caledonia are expecting the 2010 renewal of the event to attract even greater number despite the incident.


14 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Done on a handshake, no doubt.

neilwheel's picture

posted by neilwheel [132 posts]
7th January 2010 - 16:33

1 Like

It certainly makes you wonder Thinking

Especially with no explanation given

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [153 posts]
7th January 2010 - 16:41


Unbelievable. Bet he wears an apron and has a funny handshake.

posted by Old Cranky [278 posts]
7th January 2010 - 20:37

1 Like

That's a disgrace.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1347 posts]
7th January 2010 - 22:02

1 Like

Why is anyone surprised by this? We've all seen the way that cyclists get treated by the courts in this country - that's the real disgrace.

posted by iscott66 [68 posts]
8th January 2010 - 9:55

1 Like

Hmm, do the accused roll up trouser legs? Have they promised never ever to do this again? Or is it simply that there's nothing other than circumstantial evidence connecting them with the crime?


posted by OldRidgeback [2553 posts]
8th January 2010 - 10:42


Not even an ASBO! Surprise

But it's simple really - the wigs don't want to hurt one of their own.

Perhaps a 'neighbourly' individual can pop round and slash his car tyres. A quid pro quo gesture for each of those on the Etape who punctured on tacks should keep the local tyre depot busy for a while.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2375 posts]
8th January 2010 - 11:03

1 Like

it's quite ridiculous when you think about it ... all
this and it's only for 1 day !!!!

My roads' been closed for 3 so far by snow .....

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [920 posts]
8th January 2010 - 11:05


It's not even a day, if the event runs to plan the road outside his house would be closed for less than two hours early on a Sunday morning and following a 12 month advance warning.

posted by adscrim [135 posts]
8th January 2010 - 12:26

1 Like

Well, this does it. It's pretty clear where the CPS stands when it comes to cyclists. Remember Tony Maynard? He was hit from behind by a van driver who claimed he didnt' see him. Despite the fact that he was KILLED, the CPS dropped charges, again w/o explanation!

I agree with Simon E: slash his tyres! Angry

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
8th January 2010 - 15:07

1 Like

Times Online biased?

The news about this guy does not allow comments:

Other cycling news on Times Online, where cyclists are shown in bad light, have comments allowed:

Plain Face

I can't think of any reason for this, but maybe I'm just so angry... Surprise

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
8th January 2010 - 15:44

1 Like


Poor show.

Bring me sunshine, and dry roads

MalcolmBinns's picture

posted by MalcolmBinns [114 posts]
8th January 2010 - 17:43

1 Like

I really do give the feck up, i mean what is the point?


The CPS need a rocket sticking up their arse.
When it comes to cyclist i appears they really can be done with a hassle. I feel a letter to my MP coming on

posted by mrchrispy [408 posts]
8th January 2010 - 18:04

1 Like

We are all assuming that he actually did it. I am less bothered about his getting off, than the process that decided a prosecution would not continue - why can this not be made public? Justice must be fair, but is must also be seen to be fair, which means open and transparent, and not conducted behind closed doors.

posted by ourmaninthenorth [93 posts]
8th January 2010 - 18:36

1 Like