A WOMAN was startled when a naked man crossed her path in the South Downs.

But Louise Yates, 57, had the presence of mind to grab her camera and photograph the nude walker before he went out of sight.

She had been on a stroll with a friend when they came across the bare-bottomed rambler close to Saddlescombe Farm, near Devil’s Dyke.

“I really didn’t expect to see that,” she said.

“We were chatting away and all of a sudden this guy walked out towards us with no clothes on.

“We saw him, he saw us, and by the time I’d got my camera out he was almost gone.”

Louise managed to take the photo just before the exposed trekker slipped out of vision.

He was wearing a baseball cap, had a drawstring bag slung over his back, and, as Louise pointed out, “he still had his trainers on”.

She said: “He probably saw my camera. I’m not sure whether he wanted to be seen or not, but you know what these people are like.”

Louise, who lives in Hove and works at a newsagents, is an avid photographer.

“I take photos of everything,” she said. “I’m always at the ready with my camera.”

“But I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

She and her friend have since been able to laugh about the shock encounter – but if she had been on her own, she said she “would not have been happy”.

“I wasn’t afraid. I was with my friend and he rushed off. But if I’d been on my own I would have been more concerned.”

Nudity is not illegal in the UK. But, under Section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is an offence for someone to intentionally expose their genitals if they mean for someone to “see them and cause alarm or distress.”

On top of this, a person can be found guilty under Section Five of the Public Order Act 1986, which deals with “disorderly behaviour” that could cause someone harassment, alarm or distress.

The Crown Prosecution Service says there needs to be a balance “between the naturist’s right to freedom of expression and the right of the wider public to be protected”.

It adds: “While many naturists will restrict their activities to specially designated areas and/or places where there is a tradition of naked activity, such as nudist beaches, others may wish to enjoy nudity more widely.”

Nudity is popular in Brighton. The city’s naked bike ride was postponed this year amid the pandemic, but nudists can still make use of the famous nudist beach, which, 40 years ago, was the first to open in the UK.