Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Paper chase as files get recycled

Lucy Binns had to sift through piles of scrap paper at a recycling plant to find her missing documents

A woman whose husband mistakenly recycled their important files managed to recover them - after wading through tonnes of waste paper.

Lucy Binns, 46, tasked husband Stewart, 62, with taking piles of unwanted paper from their office to the kerb while she did the school run.

But when she returned to their home in Winsham in Somerset, Mrs Binns was horrified to discover a stack of important and confidential documents had gone missing.

Mr Binns, an author, immediately confessed to his mistake and the couple jumped in separate cars to chase the recycling lorry on its route.

The lorry had already visited villages around their home on September 19 and reached Walford Cross depot, near Taunton, where it was about to start emptying its load.

Mother-of-two Mrs Binns, managing director of the couple's firm, Big Ape Media International, raced to the site and staff unloaded the truck in a separate area.

She spent the next three hours carefully picking through tonnes of paper picked up by the lorry - eventually finding every one of her missing documents.

"I normally do the bins but I was in a rush so asked my husband to finish the job," Mrs Binns said.

"I had put a couple of really important papers that needed filing on a chair and pushed it in, as well as a few piles of waste paper on the floor.

"I came back from the school run and saw the pile on the floor had gone, as well as the pile on the chair.

"I asked Stewart and he said he had put them in the recycling. At first I wanted to murder Stewart, then I just wanted to cry, I thought we would never get them back."

The four-inch high stack of important files included company documents, tax papers and research for Mr Binns' latest historical novel Lionheart.

As Mr and Mrs Binns began driving round country lanes to try to find the recycling truck before it emptied, they called waste companies in the area and reached Somerset Waste Partnership's Kier Services.

Staff were able to locate the truck as it reached Walford Cross depot, where paper from around the county is bulked up and despatched.

They directed the lorry to unload in a separate area and waited until Mrs Binns arrived. She donned a pair of gloves and a hi-vis jacket and began wading through the rubbish.

"There was a huge mountain of papers," Mrs Binns said. "I was gobsmacked by how much there was and it had all been mixed up in the truck.

"It took three hours but I managed to find everything we had lost, which I am so relieved about. I was just so impressed.

"Looking back now it is funny, especially as our name is Binns."

Steve Read, managing director of Somerset Waste Partnership, said: "Our collections crews from Kier Services and recycling site staff from Viridor always try to be helpful, but it is really great to hear that on this occasion they were also able to make a difference for Lucy when she needed assistance."

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