Huge thanks to staff who went above and beyond to reunite a resident with money she had accidentally thrown away at our Anchor Lane Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Waste operative Stephen Startin and team spent more than 2 hours painstakingly searching for a shoebox stuffed with about £900 in cash after resident Rhiannon Thompson accidentally took it to the site following a clear out.

Rhiannon’s partner Jordan Stevens had put the money in the red shoebox, but it had been tucked under some tissue paper in a money gift card.

Rhiannon had then taken the box to the HWRC on a Saturday, but the couple only realised on the Monday what must have happened, when Jordan was going to take the money to the bank.

However, staff at Anchor Lane leapt to the rescue and spent hours painstakingly picking through tons of cardboard rubbish.

Some difficulties arose due to the sheer number of similar shoe boxes in the huge industrial skip, the heavy rain and the sheer volume of cardboard they had to safely work through.

But staff were determined to help and in the end were able to return most of the cash to the very grateful couple.

Site manager Dave Phillips said returning the money was one of the most rewarding days at work he had ever had.

He said: "Rhiannon threw it in on the Saturday and didn’t come back until the Monday – she was lucky it was still there and hadn't been emptied. We normally empty them every 2 to 3 days.

"Sometimes the cardboard waste becomes contaminated too which made it even more complicated as to where the shoebox could be.

"Luckily it was a red shoe box, so what we did was put the skip on the back line, opened the doors and pulled another one level with it. Then we had to take it in turns to work through the rubbish while we looked for the box."

He added: "We also had our jobs to do at the same time so between the team we managed to keep looking.

"We had to search safely and delicately by hand or the money would have been crushed with the machinery.

"Eventually we spotted the box, it took just over 2 hours, some of the money had come out of it and box had obviously dismantled in the crush but we managed to return it all bar around £80. They were over the moon."

Rhiannon said: "We are so very grateful, it makes you realise there are some really lovely people in the world. I felt so bad, it was pouring with rain and they all had their work to do.

"They had been looking for around 2 hours and we were about to give up when they came across it. It was such a relief. I think I felt worse as it wasn't my money, it was a Christmas present from Jordan’s nan. 

"We never expected to get it back so we are just so very grateful. They were all amazing and worked so hard to help us.”

Councillor Craig Collingswood, cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: “Our household waste and recycling centre staff are always happy to help residents and I am extremely proud of how they went the extra mile to help Rhiannon when she needed it most.

“They responded swiftly and safely to find the missing money whilst getting on with their day to day duties and their willingness to go above and beyond is a great example of the dedication and community spirit our employees show daily.

“Our HWRCs at Anchor Lane and Shaw Road are open every day of the week and residents are always welcome to bring their waste and recycling - but please be careful to double check what you are throwing away!”