When bird-loving pensioner John Miller had his pet owls stolen by burglars who raided his aviary, he was devastated.
However, he has hit on a novel way to ensure it does not happen again - by never allowing his remaining birds to leave his sight.
Mr Miller, 70, can't bear to be parted from beloved pets Jessie, Jenny and 10-week-old newcomer Jason - so they perch on the handlebars of his mobility scooter wherever he goes.
Owl about town: John Miller and his pet owls have become a familiar sight in Middlesbrough. The pensioner has hit on a novel way to ensure his birds aren't stolen again
So familiar are the pensioner and his birds, that shoppers flock to see them while they are out and about.
The well-behaved Tawny owl and two Barn owls accompany him to his local market, as well as Morrisons, where staff keep an eye on the birds while he gets his groceries.
Hooter scooter: John with Jenny, Jessie and Jason
John, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which affects his lungs and leaves him short of breath, said: 'I love them, that's why I take them everywhere.
'I leave them at the front of Morrisons. There's people there that know me and they watch the owls for me.
'I go in and shop and when I come out there's always men, woman and children saying 'can a have a photo?' So I let them.'
However the bird enthusiast, from Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, was heartbroken when three of his owls were stolen earlier this year.
Thieves broke into his giant atrium and pinched two barn owls and Jessie, a tawny owl.
However local children, who bought Jessie from the thief, returned her to her owner after they heard she was John's.
John said: 'I can't give the owls enough time since some of them got pinched. I trained them to sit on the handlebars so I hardly ever have to leave them alone.
'I was gutted when they were stolen earlier this year, I cried like a baby. The kids wouldn't tell me who sold them Jessie because they knew what I'd do to him.
'I've heard that they killed the other two.' A generous woman from Darlington who heard about John's plight in the local press donated a barn owl to John, who he named Jenny.
When John, who lives with his wife Judith, 69, was diagnosed with COPD he owned cockatiels, love birds and quails, but a doctor warned him they might kill him.
John said: 'I went to the doctor, I'd never seen this doctor before, and he said 'You've got birds, you.' He could tell instantly.
'He said he'll give me 12 months and I'll be dead if I don't get rid of the birds. It's because they carry pollen in the wings, so I had to give them up.
'But two years ago someone offered me an owl and they don't carry pollen, so I've had them ever since.'
Originally posted by dailymail.co.uk