HIS bare faced cheek has upset countless other people.

For years Stephen Gough, better known as the Naked Rambler, has fought for the right to be nude in public - much to the disgust of other residents.

Now this afternoon Hampshire police have been granted the right to serve an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) on the 53-year-old to “cover up his buttocks and genitalia”.

They had sought the order following consultation with Eastleigh council.

Passers-by stopped and laughed in disbelief as Mr Gough strode into Southampton Magistrates' Court today carrying a backpack and wearing nothing but socks and a pair of walking boots.

Mr Gough had been due to arrive for his ASBO hearing at 9am, but he finally arrived around midday, after walking to the court from his home in Eastleigh.

Police officers held up a brown blanket to shield Mr Gough as he entered the building.

As he met with a solicitor in a separate room, police and court officials began discussing whether Mr Gough would be allowed into the court room naked.

Speaking after the case, Roger Trencher, Force Solicitor for Hampshire Constabulary, said: “Today, Hampshire Constabulary sought an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) because Stephen Gough has caused much offence nationwide, and he has used a considerable amount of police time in England, Wales and Scotland.

“This is because he insists on rambling naked. He refuses to be deterred by the criminal law. He believes the law is uncertain on the issue of public nudity.

“We applied, in consultation with Eastleigh Borough Council, for an ABSO to bring some clarity to the situation. We hoped the court would agree that, because of the public offence that has been caused and the police time used, it is in the public interest that Mr Gough be required to wear clothing sufficient to prevent the offence.

“We sought an order for him to wear sufficient clothing in public to at least cover his genitalia and buttocks.

“The Constabulary and many residents of Hampshire are pleased with the court's decision to grant the Anti Social Behaviour Order. Any breach of the order could result in a prison sentence for Mr Gough.”

On Monday this week Gough, of Chamberlayne Road, Eastleigh, was charged with a public order offence and ordered to attend Basingstoke Magistrates Court after his naked walking caused repeated complaints to police.

He is due to appear there on March 14 to answer the allegations.

Just last month he walked free from court in Oxford after charges of outraging public decency against him were dropped.

He was walking naked from the Scottish border to his mother's home in Eastleigh when he was arrested in Carterton, West Oxfordshire, on December 4, last year.