By SIMON DEAN
CYCLISTS have been warned to be on their guard – after Britain’s most notorious BIKE-SEAT SNIFFER walked free from a court. Legal commentators had expected Clinton Dennison to be jailed after he was caught snurging seats at a municipal bike shed in Balham, south London – for the 57th time! But not only was he found not guilty, his lawyer successfully argued that sniffing bike seats is NOT an offence if the bike’s owner does not witness the act.
In a landmark ruling, city magistrates agreed with Dennison’s solicitor Armitage Phelps that a sexual motive had not been proved – and if the cycle’s owner was not present to see the sniffing, a public order offence could not be proved. As Dennison’s snurging had only been seen by a CCTV operative, magistrates ruled there was no case to answer and ordered the 31-year-old bachelor to be freed. The case could make saddlesniffing almost impossible to prosecute outside certain strict circumstances.
Unemployed former water treatment operative Dennison said nothing outside court, simply scuttling away making a high-pitched wailing sound. But he has vowed in previous newspaper interviews: “If I see a bike seat, I will sniff it. The law will come around to my way of thinking, eventually.” Jo Prendergast, of feminist bike club Menstrual Cycle, blasted: “Again, the Establishment has side-stepped the very real issue that bicycle-seat sniffing leads to all manner of antiwoman crimes. “One day it’s sniffing a bike seat, the next it’s glancing at bottoms or saying ‘hello’ to women in the street.”
Even enemies of cyclists have reacted with fury at Dennison’s vile antics. Brendan O’Cafferidge of the Taxpaying Road Users’ Forum said: “Anyone who uses Britain’s roads hates cyclists. “But not even these lycrawearing nincompoops deserve having their seating areas insufflated like this.”