Swayne O'Garrett, the UK's last surviving cowboy, has sensationally hung up his spurs, as a run of bad luck left him 'tormented and disillusioned'.
O'Garrett became a talking point around his home town of Dudley, West Midlands, after parading the streets in full cowboy garb. Nicknamed the 'Canal Kid' after the towns famous waterway, he was asked to open supermarkets and attended all major events in the town, as a guest of honour.
Word quickly spread, and tourists would come from far and wide to have their photo taken with the Midlands cow-poke, and his horse Bakewell.
But fortunes were set to turn, as one by one O'Garrett was hit by litigation and what he describes as 'a campaign of systematic regulatory hand-tying'.
The first came from council officials who ordered O'Garrett to remove his two revolvers when in public. The two plastic six-shooters were said to cause 'alarm' in tourists, and he was subsequently arrested outside Sainbury's when he refused to appear without them.
"A cowboy without his guns is like a hand without fingers," he was heard to remark. He was released on bail the following day, without his revolvers.
Next, officials turned on his mode of transport, slapping down a £10,000 back dated clean up bill, for the masses of dung left littering the town centre and surrounding streets.
"Bakewell has dietary problems," O'Garrett told local radio news presenters, "it's not like he can help it. I can't afford that money. I've had to re-mortgage my house!"
Animal welfare' were quick to step in at this point, slamming O'Garrett and his treatment of his self proclaimed 'best friend' Bakewell.
Spokesman Lee Van Cleet told us "a horse should not be fed cabbage alone. They have very specific dietary requirements. No wonder it was turning out on every corner! And we strongly rejected his use of spurs, so we sought a court order to force their removal."
The courts were in favour, and O'Garrett lost his trademark spurs in late January. "A cowboy without spurs is like feet with no toes, useless!" O'Garrett was heard to mumble.
Vowing to alter Bakewell's diet, and taking steps to allow full monitoring from officials, O'Garrett was allowed to keep his horse.
But it didn't stop there. Animal rights groups began demonstrations wherever O'Garrett showed up, displaying placards and chanting disparaging slogans about his choice of leather wear. Claiming his chaps, boots and waistcoat were 'abhorrent', O'Garrett was left constantly red faced, and unable to work.
"No one wants to hire a gun-less, spur-less cowboy with a Brummie accent, surrounded by inspectors and a group of tree-huggers shouting 'murderer' and 'vile pig' to open their supermarket," said close friend Clint Easthope, " doesn't exactly convey the right image!"
But the final straw came last Sunday, when O'Garrett took a trail in to town and tethered Bakewell up at the local park.
"I only nipped across the road to get some jerky and chewin' tobacco," he told us "when I came back, they'd clamped Bakewell. Illegally tethered, they said!"
"It's an inside job! I was the toast of the town, but since my arch rival Tibbs 'Molasses' McGee was made councillor, that's when the trouble started!" he said libellously.
McGee, who was unavailable for comment when we called, as he had taken a posse 'out of town', had been at war with O'Garrett for several years over mining rights to the local allotments.
O'Garretts decision to hang up his hat was welcomed by the remaining members of the McGee clan.
They celebrated with much whoopin' and hollerin' while sinking red-eye in the saloon.
Bakewell has been sold to a local glue factory.