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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 June, 2003, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Clothes on for nude picnic
Steve Gough was the only one who took his clothes off
Steve Gough was the only person to take his clothes off

A Southampton nudist who stripped in a central London park agreed to put his clothes on again - after getting ticked off by police.

Steve Gough, 44, was one of 15 naturists who planned to take part in a naked lunch in Hyde Park.

But when police arrived as the party gathered, Mr Gough was the only protester to defy warnings and cast off his kit.

He then put his clothes back on so he could join his colleagues at a picnic to mark World Naturist Day.

Park authorities said the organisers had not asked for permission to hold the picnic - and complaints were received about the possibility of nude sunbathers.

Mr Gough was handed a notice from the parks police which stated: "The assembly in which you are taking part has not been authorised by the Royal Parks Agency.

No one has complained as a result of seeing us naked but someone complained at the thought of it which is a bit bizarre
Richard Collins
"You are therefore in breach of royal parks regulations and are asked to disband and leave this area.

"Failure to do so may result in you being reported for an offence and ejected from the park."

But Richard Collins, from Hardwick, near Cambridge, who is a presidential nominee for organisation British Naturism, claimed he had spoken to royal parks officials before organising the event.

"No one has complained as a result of seeing us naked but someone complained at the thought of it which is a bit bizarre."

'Balance people's views'

The 46-year-old said he and the others did not take their clothes off as they were "all law-abiding people".

"We are not here to demonstrate, we just want to enjoy the basic human right of wearing no clothes on a lovely sunny day."

A spokesman for Royal Parks, Theo Moore, said the group did not ask for permission for the event and they had already received complaints.

Mr Moore said: "Those complaints were received before they had even got here from people saying they would not bring their families here because of this event. You have to balance difference people's needs."

But he did say the agency would consider a request from the nudists and see whether it contravened the regulations.

In February a radio interview at BBC South between DJ John Peel and Mr Gough was called off after he turned up naked.



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