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14 January 2011, 10:10
A man's thanked binmen for rummaging through tonnes of rubbish to find his £500 iPhone, which had been thrown away by mistake.
Rob Wright, from Park Gate, near Fareham, believed he had lost the expensive gadget for good after his partner, Anna Weald, accidentally put it into their recycling bin at their home.
By the time Mr Wright, a local carpenter, discovered the phone was missing, the bin, which is one of the first on the round to be collected, had already been emptied.
He contacted Fareham Borough Council which put him on to Veolia Environmental Services, the contractor providing recycling services for the area.
The company quickly identified which lorry was involved and it was diverted to be sorted by hand.
A Veolia spokeswoman said: "Normally, the recycling would be sorted by a combination of machinery and hand-picking - it's unlikely Rob's phone would have survived this."
But after staff picked their way through seven tonnes of recycling, they found the phone - and it still worked.
Mr Wright, 40, said: "I want to say a massive thank you to the guys who managed to find the phone.
"They do such a great job and it was just incredible that they found it. On the phone there are lots of photos that we wouldn't have been able to replace.''
Darren Carling, Veolia's recycling site manager, said: "We're glad we could help Rob out and reunite him with his phone.
"Dealing with hundreds of tonnes of recycling each week means that, normally, this sort of find just wouldn't be possible."