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Nude man on beach a worry for residents

By Kiri Gillespie

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A naked man has confronted at least two women on Papamoa Beach.

One of the women, who would not be named, told the Bay of Plenty Times she believed the man had been doing an indecent act rather than simply sunbathing and minding his own business.

The incident happened on Monday afternoon and police were called. The woman said she was concerned the man might target a child.

Sergeant Dan Roser confirmed police had received a complaint.

"Between 3-4pm on July 2, a naked aroused male ran out and approached two different women in quick succession while they were walking separately south of Sunbrae [Grove]," Mr Roser said. "Both women had to walk away quickly from the man who confronted but did not assault them."

Mr Roser said the man was earlier seen wearing distinctive clothing and police were keen to hear from anyone else who might have been approached by the man, described as a Maori of slim build, about 1.82m tall and 35-45 years old with a black goatee.

While dressed, he wore a black beanie, a black and white checkered hooded jumper with grey three-quarter length shorts and had a green army satchel slung over his shoulder with a flap and double strap. Mr Roser said the man ran off after the confrontation with the two women.

However, Detective Sergeant Darryl Brazier said there was no suggestion the man had been doing an indecent act.

"He hasn't done anything overt other than present his naked self to people on the beach," Mr Brazier said. "We don't know what his intentions were but basically we want to talk to him to stop it and prevent anything similar occurring again."

Sunbrae Grove resident Shaun Gallagher said the issue of naked men offending beach goers was so bad, women in his street were too scared to go to the beach.

"Everybody's got their rights and we surely have a right not to be offended. I've got grandchildren. They say 'can we go to the beach?' And I say 'I'd rather you didn't'. I don't think that's fair."

Mr Gallagher said while there were genuine naturalists, usually in summer, there were also people who made a point of exhibiting themselves to unwitting passers by. "It's quite devious, strange behaviour and obviously some women get quite frightened."

Mount Maunganui Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Marie Gilpin said while it was not illegal to be naked, it was to be offensive. "People should get used to the idea that when these things happen, if they are offended, it's a 111 call," Rev Gilpin said.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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