Men with sticks who disrupted cycling race accept out-of-court punishment

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TWO men who disrupted a cycle race by standing in the road with large sticks have accepted out-of-court punishment for their behaviour.

Extraordinary footage from last September showed the pair partially blocking the country road as cyclists streamed past.

Some competitors in the Tour o’ the Borders race claimed they had been hit with sticks although there was no video evidence of this.

The protestors, who were filmed on the A701 near Broughton, Scottish Borders, claimed race-related road closures caused havoc with the harvest.

Police charged two men, aged 71 and 60, in connection with the disturbance. John Marshall, 60, from Rachan Mill Farm later admitted he was the ringleader of the demonstration.

Today a spokesman from the Crown Office confirmed: “The Procurator Fiscal received a report concerning two men, aged 60 and 71, in connection with an alleged incident on the A701 Broughton to Moffat road on 3 September 2017.

“After full and careful consideration of all facts and circumstances the case was dealt with by way of an alternative to prosecution (Direct Measure).”

The Crown Office refused to disclose the identities of the men, what they had been charged with or which direct measure or measures had been accepted.

The five options are a compensation order of up to £5000, a fiscal fine of up to £300, a formal warning, a work order of up to 50 hours, or a social work diversion or other diversion schemes.

The video, filmed by Iain Elliott, showed a group of cyclists approaching two men in the middle of the road with sticks.

As the cyclists approach the farmers they can be seen sticking out their sticks to block the road.

The two farmers can be seen waving their sticks at the cyclists’ wheels.

The cyclists had to slow down whilst they maneuvered their way through the moving blockade.

The cyclists can be seen glancing behind them to take a look at what they had just been through.

Mr Marshall said shortly after the incident: “We blocked off the road and had draining rods in our hands but they were basically touching the ground so we weren’t appearing violent.

“It was meant to be a peaceful demonstration so they would stop and we could have dialogue.

“I started to say we were pedestrians again but they started to push through. Two of us got shoulder-barged and I got grabbed so I shouted back at the guy who I could only describe as a bearded hooligan.

“From what I saw nobody touched the ground, nobody was pushed except for ourselves. For them to say what they have – I hope they can back it up.”

Eddie Petrie, from Bathgate, West Lothian, who was in the first wave of riders and witnessed the incident, claimed: “The cyclists in front started to slow down, because something was something on the road.

One of the cyclists

“As I got closer I saw what I assumed were two farmers, and each had a 3ft or 4ft long stick in each hand. They were standing in the middle of the road and the cyclists were just trying to get past.

“There were between 60 to 100 cyclists in the first wave, that’s quite a lot who were trying to get past.

“I was speaking to someone afterwards who said one of his friends had one of the sticks put through his back wheel spokes. It could have been serious, and could have taken him off his bike.”

Neil Dalgleish of Hillside Outside Ltd who organise the Tour O the Borders said: “I am certainly glad they have been charged. There were rumours that they were going to do it again, it must be quite embarrassing for them.

“We didn’t want them to get away with these ridiculous actions. Hopefully we will see them do community service or something.

“It’s not ok to bully innocent cyclists and I am glad the procurator fiscal have charged them.”

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