A 61-year-old Italian convicted of public masturbation has had the threat of hard time lifted, after judges declared the dirty old goat s favoured pastime isn t actually a crime in the country.

The case arose after sexagenarian Pietro L was nabbed pulling his member and practising autoeroticism in front of female students at the University of Catania last May, according to local reports.

He was initially slapped with a three month prison sentence, however, the stint of porridge was converted into a fine of €3,420 £2,891 .

However, Peter L clearly thought his al fresco onanism didn t merit a fine, and appealed to a higher power, in the form of the country s Supreme Court.

The members of the Supreme Court decided that Pietro L s activity had actually been decriminalised under 2015 s Legislative Decree 8, though it was still punishable by a fine.

Consequently, the initial sentence was tossed out.

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