Binmen's search as £500 phone gets a rubbish reception

Portsmouth coastguard called to reports of a body near Chichester

RELIEVED Rob Wright clutches a missing £500 phone retrieved by binmen who sifted through piles of waste after it was accidentally put out with the recycling.

Rob's partner Anna Weald dropped the iPhone in the green wheelie bin as she put the rubbish out.

She quickly realised her mistake - but by then the bins had already been collected.

In a panic she contacted Rob , who in turn spoke to Fareham Borough Council. They gave Rob the number for Veolia Environmental Services, which runs the lorries.

Rob a self-employed carpenter, said: 'I have no idea how she managed to lose it, but it was a 500 phone and it was only a couple of months old.

'It had a load of our Christmas pics on it - we've got six kids between us, so all of them, and pictures with the in-laws and all that. If we had lost the phone we would have lost them all.

'When I got hold of Veolia they were really good about it - I really did think they would tell me where to go.'

Staff at Veolia were able to identify the truck before it got back to the depot at Copnor in Portsmouth and divert it to an area reserved for hand sorting.

Staff picked through the seven tonnes of waste before finding the prized mobile. Rob, 40, who lives with Anna in Beacon Way, Park Gate, near Fareham, added: 'They had the number of the phone and they'd been calling it, but couldn't hear it.

'Apparently they were about to give up when they tried ringing it one last time, and that's when they heard it.

'I want to say a massive thank you to the guys who managed to find the phone.

'I offered them some money so they could at least get a round of drinks in, it was the least I could do.'

Veolia's recycling site manager, Darren Carling, said: 'We're glad we could help Rob out and reunite him with his phone.'