A family were shocked to receive text messages from their dead grandmother who had been buried with her mobile phone three years earlier.
Since her granny Lesley's death, Sheri Emerson (22) had been sending messages to her phone to help comfort her.
The family had buried the 59-year-old with some of her possessions, including her phone, and thought operator O2 had terminated the number.
But Ms Emerson, from South Shields, South Tyneside, was shocked when a reply flashed up on her phone reading: "I'm watching over you and it's all going to get better. Just push through."
This was followed by a second message after she asked who it was, saying "a disturbing vegetarian".
She told the Shields Gazette: "I felt sick. I was in shock and didn't know what to think.
"Obviously we know that Nan wasn't ever going to reply to our texts. It was just something we did as a comfort for ourselves, because she loved to text."
Ms Emerson's uncle, Graham, eventually rang the number and discovered it was a man who had been using the number for a few weeks.
He apologised and explained that he thought the texts were hoax messages from friends and he had been given the number by a different phone company.
O2 said it had not sold the number, but if a number is disconnected it is placed in a general pool for recycling.