HIS defiant and bare-faced crusade for public nudity has spanned more than a decade and cost the public hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Now Hampshire's Naked Rambler Stephen Gough has sensationally vowed to put his clothes back on while he cares for his ill mother.

But he is refusing to give up his cause - saying he could strip off again in the future.

The former Marine has insisted on getting his kit off in public for over 10 years, but has put clothes back on again to take his elderly and frail mum for walks without getting arrested.

The shock revelation comes just three months after his latest stint in jail following another spell of public nakedness.

It follows him telling a top judge he could keep his clothes off "until he dies" - in what was his 40th court appearance after being sentenced to 200 days in jail for breaching a no-nudity Asbo.

Mr Gough, 57, of Chamberlayne Road, Eastleigh, has spent most of the past 10 years in jail for persistently hiking in the nude as part of his one man protest against laws restricting public nudity.

The dad-of-two famously trekked from Land's End to John O'Groats in 2003 wearing nothing but his rucksack, hat and walking boots.

But now he is promising to turn his back on that lifestyle so he can peacefully take out his mum Nora, 89, who is battling dementia.

He said he is her sole carer providing 24-hour care, adding: "I'm looking after my mum cooking and taking her out for walks so I am staying clothed for that so that I don't get arrested. I'm doing what's necessary as she's got Alzheimer's."

"If circumstances change then I might be thinking again. I'm not giving up on anything."

He branded his Asbo an "insane situation" pointing out that scores of people take part in Southampton's Naked Bike Ride each year and that it is about "freedom" adding: "We are brought up being told there is something wrong with being naked in public and it doesn't make sense. The human body isn't disgusting and I'm questioning things."

Mr Gough first started walking the length of Britain in 2003, campaigning for freedom of all kinds.

He was locked up several times as he tried a repeat of the Land's End to John O'Groats trip two years later with then girlfriend Melanie Roberts.

But Scottish police later turned a blind eye, allowing him to return to England in 2012 and he arrived back at Nora’s house the following year.

But the ex-lorry driver still continued his naked walks and prison terms and is estimated to have cost the criminal justice system around £300,000.

Most of his prison stints were in solitary confinement due to his refusal to wear clothes before he was freed in January.