A HAMPSHIRE man dubbed the Naked Rambler has failed in a bid to challenge his latest jail sentence.

Stephen Gough gained notoriety after walking naked from Land’s End to John o’Groats ten years ago – and has since been handed prison sentences totalling more than six years.

The 54-year-old was jailed for 11 months in June after being found guilty of breaching an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) which bans him from appearing in public with his genitals or buttocks uncovered.

He had breached the order within minutes of being given it at Southampton Magistrates’ Court in February by appearing on the steps of the court completely naked – save for his socks, hiking boots and a small rucksack.

Gough, of Chamberlayne Road, Eastleigh, has now challenged his sentence at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing it was “too long”.

He was due to appear at the hearing by videolink from prison, but it went ahead without him after prison officers told the court they could not bring him to the room where the equipment was set up unless he was clothed, as members of the public were present – and he was refusing to dress.

But, stressing that Gough was being punished for his “flagrant” breach of a court order – and not for taking off his clothes – the judges dismissed his appeal and ruled that the sentence was “not excessive”.

However, Mr Justice Spence said any court considering the terms of his ASBO in future should be careful they are not “too wide” in order to avoid the “disturbing consequence” of him being in and out of jail for the rest of his life.

He added: “It is important to stress at the outset that we are not concerned in this appeal with the rights and wrongs of his campaign to vindicate, as he sees it, his right to go about naked in public.”

During the course of the appeal hearing Lord Justice Leveson added: “He is effectively, to use the vernacular, putting two fingers up to the court.”

His lawyers argued his 11-month sentence was too long in light of the fact he caused no harm to the public and there was no sexual element to his offending.

But, dismissing his appeal, Mr Justice Spence said the sentence was “justified” given the history and his instant flouting of the ban.

A final hearing to consider the terms of Gough’s ASBO has been set for August 14 – the date he is due to be released from his sentence.