Beaks reject "jolly good wheeze" defence and order 23-year-old to pay £500 costs...

A man who cycled naked through a community speed watch in Suffolk has been given an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Alexander Purser, aged 23, who works at Suffolk Ski Centre, was driving through the village of Acton near Sudbury last June when he "spotted a community speed watch group in a lay-by on the side of the road," reports The Sudbury Mercury.

After reaching his home, he took his clothes off and got on his bike, wearing nothing more than his glasses and trainers and rode back to the speed trap, saying afterwards that he "wanted to see if he could reach 30 miles and hour on his bike naked while travelling through the speed trap".

Last month, he told Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court: "I thought it would be fun, both for me and the people manning the speed watch."

Some locals failed to see the funny side, however, with calls made to the police regarding the naked cyclist, who was riding close to the village school.

One, Brenda Bailey, told the court: "There are a lot of young children in that village and I am sure they wouldn't want to see somebody cycling naked."

Another witness, Wayne Bird, said: "I saw a male on a bike with absolutely nothing on, not even a pair of socks. It was like he was having a slow stroll on his bike. I found it very disgusting, knowing all the children were just about to come home from school."

Police visited Purser at his home, where he admitted being the naked cyclist and claimed he had checked his watch before setting out to make sure that pupils hadn’t left school yet, saying that it would have been "totally inappropriate" to have performed his ride with children on the streets.

Appearing for Purser, Paul Booty told the court that the defendant had not meant to cause alarm or distress, telling magistrates that the episode “was a jolly good wheeze - marvelllous fun.”

That view was shared by 61-year-old Vincent Humphries, co-ordinator of the speed watch group, who said: "It's not every day you see something like that. I was laughing. It didn't offend me at all."

Magistrates, however, disagreed, ruling that it was "likely Purser was aware his actions would have caused alarm or distress."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.