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The Times paywall down, users lap up free content

UPDATE, 10:23 GMT: The paywall has been reinstated. Still, nice to see there wasn't really anything there that you can't get for free from The Guardian - except the bile, that is.

The paywall surrounding The Times newspaper's web site is down, enabling users to access stories from the site for free.

News of the paywall breach was broken in a tweet by one of the paper's own scribes, the columnist India Knight, leading a chorus of Twitter users to urge people 'over the barricades' to enjoy the paysite's content for free.

Rupert Murdoch's UK flagship broadsheet, as well as its sister title the Sunday Times, has suffered a massive drop in online readership since disappearing behind a paywall in July last year - prompting repeated speculation that the company might rethink the move.

Last November, the company revealed that the two papers had signed up 50,000 new monthly customers for their online editions, iPad editions, corporate subcriptions and Kindle editions.

Between the two titles, News International claimed a total of "more than 105,000 customer sales to date", including every pay-as-you go purchase of a day-pass to online or iPad editions, as well as introductory 30-day £1 trials which were not renewed.

But figure of 105,000 covered total sales for at least the first four months - putting the monthly readership at around 26,000 users.

Before the paywall, the two titles racked up around 20 million unique users a month - more than 13 times larger than the papers' combined print circulation of 1.5 million