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Naked rambler arrested in Fife just three days after release from prison

Naked rambler Stephen Gough was arrested in Townhill, Dunfermline. Picture: PA

Naked rambler Stephen Gough was arrested in Townhill, Dunfermline. Picture: PA

  • by JEAN WEST
 

NAKED rambler Stephen Gough has been arrested, just three days after he was released from a six-year jail term.

Gough, who hikes across the United Kingdom nude, was arrested in Townhill, Dunfermline, yesterday afternoon by officers from Fife Constabulary.

The 53-year-old had been released from Perth prison on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Fife Constabulary said he had been arrested following complaints from members of the public and had been charged with a breach of the peace.

The former marine, from Eastleigh in Hampshire, earned the “naked rambler” nickname by walking unclothed from Land’s End to John o’ Groats after quitting his job as a lorry driver.

He said earlier this week, as he walked free from jail, that he planned to walk to England to see his family.

In the past, officers at Perth prison would wait at the gates of the jail to re-arrest him on his release as he set off naked. However, this week they decided to turn a blind eye.

As he strolled through Perthshire naked on Thursday, he reportedly said: “The human body is not offensive – anyone who thinks this is offensive is acting irrationally. It is social conditioning gone wrong.”

Gough went on: “Freedom is why I am doing this. The naked bit is secondary. So I’ve not won or lost my battle. I’ve not lost time behind bars because I am still alive and free. And that’s how it will stay.”

He said he had spent up to 23 hours a day in solitary confinement at Perth because of his refusal to wear clothes.

He said the time passed quickly and that, although he had expected trouble from some inmates, most had been supportive and friendly.

“Very occasionally, I got the odd snide remark, but most of the time people were friendly,” he said.

Gough had been keen to see his elderly mother and two children but conceded that they would probably be embarrassed by him.

He managed to shop in local stores during his three-day excursion and some passing drivers sounded their horns in support.

A number of people even stopped to have their photograph taken with him.

Gough maintains that he has global support for his mission, with people writing to him from across Europe and America.

He stayed fit behind bars with regular exercise and said he had plenty of energy to start rambling again after stocking up on porridge, fruit, bread and water.

His spent a total of 657 days in Perth prison. On his release, he said: “I haven’t been outside a building in the last six years and it is nice to smell the flowers and see the greenery.”

Gough’s initial Land’s End to John o’ Groat’s trip began in 2003 and was beset with difficulties, including numerous arrests, beatings from gangs of youths and time in a psychiatric hospital.

Each time he has appeared in court, he has been naked apart from a blanket. He has mostly been charged with a breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner, by walking naked in the presence of the public.

He continues to refuse to wear clothes, and says that he would like to repeal indecency laws and establishment attitudes.

A psychiatric assessment has concluded that Gough is sane.

 

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