The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected a final legal challenge brought by a man known as the Naked Rambler, who had claimed he had a right to be nude in public.

Former Royal Marine Stephen Gough argued that his repeated arrest, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment for public nudity breached his human rights.

But ECHR judges ruled last October that Mr Gough's treatment did not breach his right to a private life or freedom of expression, and today they refused him permission to appeal that decision to the Strasbourg court's highest Grand Chamber.

Gough, of Eastleigh, Hampshire, has walked naked throughout the United Kingdom, from John O'Groats to Land's End, and is a well-known campaigner for his right to appear nude in public - even though his actions have often landed him in prison.

He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years at Winchester Crown Court in October after he walked out of the city's prison only wearing his boots and socks following a previous jail term.