A topless woman has appeared on Page 3 of The Sun newspaper for the first time in almost a week.

The return to convention puts an end to rumours that Britain's bestselling tabloid had dropped the long-running feature.

A winking "Nicole ... from Bournemouth" is pictured in today's edition under the headline "Clarifications and Corrections". A further message reads:

Further to recent reports in all other media outlets, we would like to clarify that this is a Page 3 and this is a picture of Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth. We would like to apologise on behalf of the print and broadcast journalists who have spent the last two days talking and writing about us.

the sun

A spokesman for the newspaper took to Twitter to rubbish media reports that the publisher had decided to drop bare breasts from its pages:

He had previously refused to comment on the rumours, commenting only that "Page 3 will be in The Sun tomorrow in the same place it's always been - between page 2 and page 4".

The campaign group No More Page 3, which had been celebrating a victory, responded to the latest move saying the "fight might be back on".

The temporary cover-up has sparked days of debate between those who believe the topless feature is offensive or outdated, and those who see it as harmless fun.

Readers were split on the issue in an ITV News poll, with a slight majority (53%) saying that Page 3 should be dropped forever.