A CAMPAIGNER who cycled naked through Bournemouth and Poole last summer has been given a year’s conditional discharge after being found guilty of a public order offence.

Richard Collins, 54, who lives with his elderly mother in Bexhill-on- Sea, East Sussex, was arrested at Sandbanks on June 30 while he was on his way from a friend’s home in Moordown to the naturist beach at Studland.

During his trial at Bournemouth Magistrates Court, the court heard that two female witnesses told police they felt shocked after getting a full-frontal view of Collins’ private parts.

The prosecution case was that his conduct breached Section 5 of the Public Order Act in that it was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

But unemployed Collins – who describes himself as a “naked activist” – argued that under the Human Rights Act he had to exercise his freedom of expression by being nude in public.

District Judge Roger House told Collins that freedoms carried conditions, restrictions or penalties in the interests of public safety, preventing crime, and protecting morals and the rights of other people.

He also said it was clear that the two women had been alarmed and distressed.

After the case, father of two Collins, who was ordered to pay £750 towards the costs of the three-day trial, attacked the decision to prosecute as “a waste of money”

and announced he would be appealing.

“I believe the right to freedom of expression outweighed the fact that an individual may be upset and complain,” he added.

“There’s no right not to see something you disapprove of. I was getting from A to B and just wanted to enjoy the sunshine.

“I had cycled naked in Cambridgeshire without any problems at all. On Saturday I took part in the World Naked Bike Ride in London with about 1,200 others. It’s not against the law to cycle naked.”