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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 November 2007, 17:21 GMT
Police 'harassed' naked walkers
Lulworth Cove
One of the walkers was arrested for refusing to cover up
Naked ramblers have criticised "heavy-handed" police tactics in marshalling a fundraising charity walk.

The 20-mile hike along the south coast path from Swanage to Lulworth Cove, Dorset, was organised to raise money for the Marine Conservation Society.

Dorset Police deployed 10 officers and patrol cars on 2 June to marshal the naturists under a carefully-planned operation codenamed Thistle.

During the walk, 18 people complained to the police about the nudity.

Official complaints

Naked walker Bernard Boase, 63, said he was asked to cover up by an officer halfway through the walk.

He was arrested and charged with harassment when he refused but the case has been dropped.

The retired IT consultant from Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, said he planned to complain to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Bob Janes, 61, a journalist, from Bournemouth, Dorset, has already filed a complaint with the IPCC and said he was twice threatened with arrest.

A third walker has also written to Insp Ashley Adams, of Dorset Police, but received an "unapologetic" letter back, Mr Boase said.

'Soliciting complaints'

He added: "It was completely unnecessary and such a waste of resources.

"The police harassed us far more than we could have harassed anybody else by our presence."

He claimed passers-by happily greeted the ramblers, who were wearing rucksacks and hiking boots, but halfway through the walk officers began "soliciting" complaints.

Steve Trewhella took pictures of the event for the Marine Conservation Society.

He said: "The police were incredibly heavy-handed.

"Anyone would think al-Qaeda were doing a sponsored walk not a group of middle-aged men."

A Dorset Police spokesman said: "The Jurassic Coastal path is a busy tourist area with the path being used by more than 200 people on a summer Saturday, including significant numbers of children and older people."

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