Two recycling centre workers in West Dunbartonshire spent more than two hours digging through rubbish after a woman realised she had thrown away her mother’s life savings by accident.
Kenny McAdam and Tony Scanlon were on shift at the Dalmoak Recycling Centre in Renton when they were approached by a member of the public.
She had been at the centre a few hours before to dump kitchen rubbish before later realising the mistake – with the money hidden in five old tins of Bisto.
To save the family from panicking further, the pair got to work right away and took two hours to find one tub, with the other four being found 20 minutes later.
Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Scanlon said: “She’d come in and dumped her bags, it was kitchen waste she was cleaning out her kitchen at the time.
“She came back a couple of hours later and said ‘I’ve thrown some bags out and there’s money in them’.
“I knew where they were because of the way she’d put them down and I knew they were heavy.
“But we’d pushed them to the back of the skip with a telehandler that we use here.
“We didn’t find it easy. It was just a case of going through all the rubbish and finding the bags.
“You’re just delighted for them to get their money back.”
Mr McAdam said they were fortunate to find the cash as one of the site’s compactors was due for a service – meaning less rubbish was being crushed than usual on what had been a busy day.
He told PA: “We’re lucky because one of our compactors which just rams everything into it was needing a service so it was an open skip that we needed to open the door.
“It was that busy – one compactor couldn’t cope with it. It could have ended up in landfill but at the end of the day we got it.
“Plus at the same time we’re going through all this the rubbish is building up with other members of the public coming in.
“You’ve just got to try to get some of it away while you’re still looking.”
He added: “It was a great feeling to think a woman of 85 … that could have wiped her family out thinking about dumping that by mistake and throwing her life savings away.
“It was a happy ending to the day for us.”
It is not the first time the pair have had to dig around for lost property, with jewellery and car keys among the items thrown away with rubbish.
Mr Scanlon said: “It wasn’t until the mum came back and asked what they’d done to the kitchen.
“I don’t think she knew the kind of cash that was in them either. But we managed to get the five of them back.
“We didn’t know the amount of cash or anything like that. If it was £20 you’d probably say I’m not going through all that but obviously she got such a fright that she was down here upset so we knew we needed to.”
He added: “When she said it was five tins well there’s going to be quite a few quid in those big tins. The papers are writing £20,000 – I don’t even know if it was that.
“You do a wee turn for somebody and you don’t expect all this to be in the papers, it’s just a wee thing you do.
“It’s a strange one to get my 15 minutes of fame at 44 at last.”