The Sun
There has been a long-running campaign for the Sun newspaper to end its Page 3 topless photos Getty

The Sun is to dump its controversial Page 3 topless photo, sources at the newspaper have told the Guardian.

Insiders at Britain's best-selling tabloid have said a decision has been made to "kill off the controversial feature quietly", the Guardian claimed.

However, a spokesman for the Sun and executives refused to comment on whether a decision had been made or not to drop the staple after 44 years.

Topless women have featured on Page 3 of the newspaper since 1970, a year after Rupert Murdoch bought the title.

It is believed that, if the change goes ahead, it could be reversed if it has an adverse effect on sales of the newspaper that sells 2.2m copies a day.

A 28-month-long campaign against the topless feature, entitled No More Page 3, has demanded the paper owned by News UK (formerly News International) "stop conditioning your readers to view women as sex objects" and received more than 215,000 signatures on an online petition as a result.

But the newspaper's editor, David Dinsmore, has repeatedly rejected calls for the topless photos to be removed because "it is what readers want".

"I was flicking through a copy of this month's Vogue and there was a picture of Kate Moss topless," he said last August.

"I suspect the editor of Vogue won't be questioned on whether topless pictures should be around on its pages."

However, media mogul Murdoch tweeted last year that he thought the topless glamour models were "old-fashioned".

The octogenarian tycoon wrote: "Brit feminists [who] bang on forever about Page 3... never buy paper. I think old-fashioned but readers seem to disagree."