Page last updated at 05:36 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

NZ policewoman allows naked cycling - with helmet

Cyclist, New Zealand 2003
Freedom-seekers in New Zealand must still wear protective gear

Two young men caught cycling with no clothes on have escaped charges of offensive behaviour, but received a warning to wear protective headgear.

Local policewoman Cathy Duder was unfazed when she came across the two nude men, both in their early 20s.

"They were more shocked than I was, trying to cover up their bits and pieces with their hands," she said.

The men were riding around the Coromandel seaside resort of Whangamata on the north-east coast of New Zealand.

When asked for an explanation, the pair replied that "they wanted to experience total freedom".

Strangely sober

"And I said to them 'the way you're heading, you're going to experience total confinement'," the officer said, laughing.

She said the men appeared decidedly sober.

"They didn't seem drunk at all. That's what worried me," she joked.

Ms Duder issued them with a stern warning for not wearing helmets and then sent them directly home.

She told the Associated Press news agency that she did not see them again during her shift, and it was not known if they donned helmets and resumed their ride.

Public nudity can attract a charge of offensive behaviour in New Zealand, but Ms Duder said she let the two men go free.

"It was dark and there was no-one else around. They were jovial young men who had not intended to cause offence," she said.

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