South Shields woman's 'text from the grave' shock
A woman was horrified to receive a text message from her grandmother's phone number - three years after her death.
When Lesley Emerson died in 2011 some of her favourite things were buried with her, including her mobile phone.
Sheri Emerson, of South Shields, said she found comfort in texting her but was stunned to get a reply, saying: "I'm watching over you."
It emerged her grandmother's number had been given to another user who replied, thinking friends were playing pranks.
The network in question, O2, said it had spoken to the family and apologised for any distress caused.
Ms Emerson said that following her grandmother's death, rather than visit her grave at Harton Cemetery in South Shields, she would text small, personal messages as a "way of being close to her".
"I know she's not alive, but it's still going to her," she said.
However, she was "upset and distressed" to receive a reply saying: "I'm watching over you and it's all going to get better. Just push through."
Ms Emerson said: "Loads of horrible things were running through my head.
"How did somebody get her telephone? Had they been getting all the texts?"
When a family member rang the number the man who answered explained he had recently acquired the number and thought the text messages from Ms Emerson had been from prankster friends.
Ms Emerson said: "I took it out on him, but it wasn't his fault at all.
"It makes me feel sick, there's not a word to describe it."
O2 said numbers disconnected and not reconnected within a short period of time were placed in a general pool for reassignment.
A spokesman said O2 had been in touch with the family and apologised "for any distress this is causing".