Etape Caledonia 'saboteur' cleared

No-one brought to justice over tacks spread on road

A man accused of sabotaging the Etape Caledonia sportive in Scotland last spring has been cleared of all charges.

Alexander Grosset was arrested and imprisoned for two days in May after tacks were strewn along a 10-mile stretch of the race route, causing hundreds of punctures and crashes.

But the former solicitor, from Bridge of Gaur, maintained he was innocent, and yesterday the Crown Office announced it would be taking no further action against him.

A spokesman told The Press and Journal: “We can confirm that the procurator fiscal in Perth received a report concerning a 62-year-old man in relation to an incident on 16 May, 2009.

“After full and careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances by Crown counsel, it was decided there should be no further proceedings.”

Mr Grosset, a church elder and chairman of the Rannoch and Tummel Community Council, told the paper: "The whole situation was horrifying. I didn’t realise that the justice system could treat people like that. I never did it, and there was never a shred of evidence to suggest that I did."

Some 3,500 riders took part in last year's 81-mile Etape Caledonia, which is the UK's only mass participation cycling event held on closed roads. 

The tacks, between Kinloch Rannoch and Tomphubil, and along the B846 between Tomphubil and Aberfeldy, caused an hour-and-a-half of delays.

The sabotage was widely condemned by the local population and officials, with Tayside Joint Police Board convener Ian Mackintosh calling the incident "contemptible".

A group called Anti Closed Road Events (ACRE) had objected to the full road closure, claiming among other things that it would prevent them from leaving their homes, including to go to church. They denied any involvement in the sabotage.

The event is set to go ahead this year, and organisers IMG have pledged to work with police and Perth & Kinross Council to ensure there will be no repeat of last year's incident.

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