Lesley Emerson died aged 59 in 2011, and was buried with some of her favourite things including her mobile phone.
Her granddaughter Sheri, 22, found comfort in continuing to sending text messages to her grandmother’s phone.
Sheri was stunned last week to get a reply reading “I’m watching over you.”
“I felt sick when I read it,” Sheri told the Shields Gazette. “I was in shock and didn’t know what to think.”
Her uncle rang the number and it emerged it was being used by a man, who believed the texts from Sheri were joke messages from friends.
The new user, and the phone company O2 which passed the number on to be re-assigned, have apologised. (AFP)