Protesters have been told they can get their kit off for a naked bike ride next month despite earlier warnings they faced arrest.

Sussex Police have backed down in a row with organisers of the Brighton leg of the World Naked Bike Ride after originally telling the cyclists they would be arrested for causing "harassment, alarm or distress".

Nick Sayers, one of the organisers of the ride, who stepped down during the row, has welcomed the news.

He said: "The person who liaised with the Metropolitan Police for the ride in London came down and spoke to Sussex Police. They had to concede that naked demonstration was legal in this case.

"It's great news and although I've stepped down as main organiser of the event I'm still helping out by advising the people who have stepped in.

"I'm bringing a rickshaw for the ride for my pregnant girlfriend.

"Hopefully if things are good we'll get about 200 to 300 people taking part in Brighton this year, compared to 160 last year for our first event."

The international event, held in about 50 cities, is organised to highlight oil dependency and the vulnerability of cyclists on the roads, while also celebrating the human body.

Mr Sayers added: "It was a scorcher last year and people are passionate about the issue so hopefully they'll come out rain or shine - after all, the human body is waterproof."

Last year participants assembled at The Level to begin the seven-mile ride around Brighton and Hove via the Palace Pier, the Royal Pavilion, Churchill Square, Hove Town Hall and the West Pier before finishing two hours later at Black Rock.

However Brighton and Hove's police chief Paul Pearce told The Argus the force's line had not changed since Mr Sayers originally sought advice from Sussex Police on staging the event. He said: "We have said nothing different and our line has been completely consistent. If they do nothing wrong we'll do nothing but if they do then we will make arrests. This is such a minor thing for Brighton and Hove and it's not like one of the big demonstrations we have. They are simply trying to get publicity for their event."

The ride will start on Saturday, June 9 at 10am at The Level and will take the same route as the 2006 event.

  • Is a naked bike ride appropriate for a Saturday morning in the city? What do you think of the apparent police climbdown? Leave your comments below.