When lawns need mowing in Lauriston Road, Hackney, the neighbours call at their local pub and have a word with Mrs Sylvia Hague the publican's wife, writes Yvonne Thomas. She then sends along Ned Kelly to deal with the problem.

Ned (above) is a lawnmower on legs, a 13-year-old black Shetland pony with an insatiable taste for work. Everyone in walking distance of The Albion knows him. He is the best lawnmower around: he eats the grass down to velvet smoothness, needs no fuel while he does it and often leaves behind some manure for the roses.

His regular customers love him. 'He does the lawns of the old people's home next door, back and front, then goes across the road to trim their grass and snacks right down the street,' says Mrs Hague. 'The neighbours often call to borrow him. He's got a lovely friendly nature and he doesn't rip up the grass when it's wet like a mower does.'

He may vary the menu a little with a mouthful of geraniums or whatever he finds in the borders. 'He's rather fond of roses but he is very green, nothing goes to waste. He likes crisps, apples and onions, too.' Ron (above foreground) and Sylvia Hague (in the background) bought him for their three daughters and son and now they have nine grandchildren who treat Ned Kelly more like an extra big dog than a pony. He lives in the yard behind the pub and doubles as a guard.

'He's a pony who thinks he's a dog,' Mrs Hague said. 'Nobody rides him. He just goes up and down the lawns and often he strolls into the pub for a few crisps and a pint of beer.'

(Photograph omitted)