Naked Rambler Heads For England

Hampshire's ''Naked Rambler'' is making his way towards England after his release from prison in Scotland.

Last month, Stephen Gough, 53, from Eastleigh, who hikes across the country naked, was jailed for five months for a breach of the peace after he told a court he would not co-operate with social workers tasked with assessing his mental health.

He was released early from Saughton prison in Edinburgh on Friday and started his walk south.

He looked in good spirits as he was joined by a local walker on the A707 road between Walkerburn and Selkirk in the Scottish Borders.

Gough has spent much of the past six years in prison for similar breach of the peace offences and was convicted of the charge last month after walking unclothed near a children's play park in Dunfermline, Fife, on July 20.

The incident took place three days after Gough, a well-known campaigner for his right to appear nude in public, was released from prison in Perth.

He was sentenced at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, where he appeared naked in the dock and represented himself.

Sheriff James Williamson had expressed his concern at a previous hearing about the accused's demeanour and ordered social workers to produce a report assessing his emotional and mental health. The sheriff told the rambler he had ''no alternative'' but to impose another custodial sentence after Gough refused to meet the officials and indicated he had no intention of doing so in the future.

After his release last week Lothian and Borders Police said they were willing to exercise discretion in his case ''if circumstances permit''.

He has been walking about 15 miles each day since his release and should reach the border in the next few days.

Before his arrest in July, the former Marine said he planned to walk to England to see his family.