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VIDEO: Kerfuffle in the USA over topless woman cyclist

Stacey Schnee says women should be able to go bare-chested too - and her campaign is getting plenty of attention

A woman in the US has caused consternation by riding her bike topless in the name of equality.

Stacey Schnee, from Massachusetts, was pulled over by police for riding without a shirt on, although she was wearing a pair of pasties: flesh coloured stickers over her nipples.

Officers decided not to arrest her, despite the fact that motorists were slowing down and taking photos and video of her.

They did however contact the district attorney's office to check whether they needed to try to bring charges.

"We did have people coming into lobby calling on phone, vehicles driving by, with people taking pictures. One vehicle turned around to take more pictures," said James Hurley, Leicester Police Chief.

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Stacey told WPTV: “My stand was because my nipples were covered I wasn't doing anything wrong. I’m also making a statement for topless equality to get the word out that women should be able to go topless.” 

According to the BBC, public nudity is not necessarily an offence in the UK, should any riders fancy recreating the stunt over this side of the pond.

Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 it is not an offence to be naked in public in England and Wales. It becomes an offence if it can be proved the person stripped off with the intention to cause distress, alarm or outrage.

Then they run the risk of three possible offences, says a spokesman for law firm Kingsley Napley. These are:

  • Indecent exposure - an offence under section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • Intentional harassment, alarm or distress under section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986
  • "Outraging public decency" under common law

In Scottish law there is no statutory offence, just the common law offence of offending public decency - a strand of the breach of the peace. The test is essentially the same as in English law - that a member of the public has been put in a state of fear or alarm.

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