Confusion as naked people popping up in public all over the UK – even in Greggs

While it not expressly an offence to be naked in public in the United Kingdom, it is generally accepted that it is rather peculiar without good reason.

Even still, the country appears to have experienced a spike in naked people popping up in the most random of places, far removed from nudist beaches or a spot of back garden sunbathing.

Among dozens of cases just this year, several people have been arrested while others have become the focus of online bemusement.

Over years Stephen Gough, dubbed the Naked Rambler, has fought for his right to walk in the nude, saying that he is in his natural state and people should not get offended.

But the phenomenon has got more bizarre, with people appearing naked on busy high streets and in restaurants and shops in their birthday suits.

In one of the weirder incidents, in February, pedestrians on a busy London street were shocked to see a naked man streaking down the pavement with three police officers chasing after him.

The scenes, captured in the posh neighbourhood of Notting Hill, show the man sprint along the high street with three officers in hot pursuit, in temperatures of around 8C.

The man appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court later the same day, February 24, charged with indecent exposure.

In March, customers in a North London branch of Greggs received an unexpected surprise after a man ordered a coffee wearing nothing but shoes and socks.

Police were called to the bakery in Crouch End on March 26 at 10.30am after a naked man refused to leave the premises.

The man, who has also been spotted wearing Speedos in Crouch End Broadway, was later apprehended by police on a nearby street.

Despite his arrest and warning about public indecency, another man, also in March, was spotted cycling naked through the capital in broad daylight wearing nothing but a helmet, socks and trainers.

The rider was seen joining commuters on the capital's roads at 7am near King's Cross in central London.

The man, who appears to be in his late 30s, seemed completely unfazed by passing traffic, or the chilly 6C temperatures.

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Another man was arrested after walking into a Screwfix store completely naked on the bemused cashier's first day on the job.

The Sun reported that he calmly waited to collect his online order as he "acted like it was completely normal".

Builder Izaak Burns, in the shop to buy screws, took a photo. Izaak, 23, said: “This guy walked in and went straight to click and collect. He looked at me and said, ‘All right’ and went to the counter like it was a completely normal thing to do.

“The kid behind the counter was on his first day and was in a state of shock."

One expert claims that "we shed a weighty burden of anxieties" when naked in public.

"Clothing locks us into a collective unreality that prescribes complex responses to social status, roles and expected behaviours. In shedding our daily 'uniforms,' we also shed a weighty burden of anxieties," wrote K. Bacher.

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The phenomenon may seem strange because recent uses of the Public Order Act put nudists legally beside sexual exhibitionists, according to the Guardian.

Mark Nisbet, then Editor of Health & Efficiency Magazine, said in 2000: "Underlying the whole philosophy of social nudism, scanty as it may seem to outsiders, is a physical and psychological revulsion against the mandatory wearing of clothes."

But solicitor Sue Ashtiany said that because concepts of decency differ, and the rights of one group have to co-exist with the expectations of the rest, some – if not most – people see public nudity as strange.

Stuart Gilmore, from Manchester, who posts on Facebook as Naked Cyclist said it's even more simple.

“I’m a naturist who just loves to be able to experience everyday life without the restrictions of clothing, promoting body positivity, embracing the individuality that is our bodies, showing people it’s okay to be different whether that be size, shape or colour and the general wellbeing it can give you,” he said.

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