And finally…Building firm chief in court over naked rambles

A wealthy property developer who was caught roaming nude across hilltops has been labelled the new “naked rambler”, The Herald has reported.

Paul Edney, 56, is known to clients as group managing director of Dollar-based bespoke home builders Hillfoot Homes, which develops and markets properties around the Ochil Hills.

But Stirling Sheriff Court heard the businessman had picked up the “pastime” of naturism 30 years ago while on a holiday in Yugoslavia.

More recently, police began to receive a series of complaints from people out walking in the Ochils they had seen a nude man on the trails.

The court heard all the incidents took place near the summit of 1,371-foot Dumyat Hill, part of the Ochils range, which towers above the National Wallace Monument and Stirling University and is popular with walkers.

Graham McLachlan, prosecuting, said in June 2015, a what was then holidaymaker from Warrington, Cheshire, was “sitting sunbathing” on the hill about midday when she was alarmed to see Edney hiking towards her stark naked.

He said: “She noticed this male was completely naked apart from a blue baseball cap, a pair of dark boots and a blue rucksack.

“He then sat six feet away from her. He appeared to be relaxed and was looking at the view, then he got up and walked off.”

In May last year another woman saw Edney approaching her on a hill path and he apologised if his nakedness caused any offence.

The woman phoned police as soon as she got down from the hill, and officers scoured the area without success. Three months later, after another incident, Edney was found in a popular hillwalker’s car park with his trousers down.

Edney, of Hillfoot Farm, Dollar, Clackmannanshire, pleaded guilty to three charges of recklessly committing public indecency, causing alarm and annoyance.

Ken Dalling, defending, said Edney, married for 34 years with a grown-up family in their twenties, was a businessman employees.

He said: “Mr and Mrs Edney have been naturists for approximately 30 years. They discovered a nice beach in Yugoslavia in 1987, and the price paid to access that beach was nudity.

“He tells me he went from finding it an odd circumstance, to being liberating.

Mr Dalling said British Naturism, the national representative body for naturists, of which Edney was a member, had published advice on walking naked after consultations with the Crown Office and the Scottish Government.

Mr Dalling said that “essentially in the wake” of Edney’s case, the with 20 procurator fiscal’s service had written again to British Naturism apologising for giving “an impression” that breach of the peace was the only potential offence that might be committed by a naked walker.

Mr Dalling said: “He is not a crusader – he has no banner to fly for naturism.”

Sheriff David Mackie ruled there was “no significant sexual element,” and Edney was admonished and not placed on the sex offenders’ register.

The original Naked Rambler, former Marine Stephen Gough, walked naked from Land’s End to John O’Groats. He has spent a total of nine years in prison for his refusal to cover up.

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