AN old milk bottle sold by an Erskine farmer 60 years ago has been returned to his grateful family...after an amateur sleuth found it buried in her back garden.

Tricia McBrearty, 69, was replacing a fence when she discovered the glass bottle, with its label revealing it had come from Linburn Farm, in Erskine.

She then ‘turned detective’ by posting a message on an Erskine community group’s Facebook page in a bid to get more information.

It was soon established that the bottle had been sold by John Stevenson, who ran Linburn Farm for decades before passing it on to his son Matthew.

And the discovery proved to be poignant for Erskine businessman Matthew, who had been left heartbroken by his dad’s death in February this year.

The Gazette: Matthew StevensonMatthew Stevenson

Matthew told The Gazette: “I thought it was such a lovely thing for Tricia to reach out and return the bottle to me, rather than throw it away.

“Since losing my dad, I’ve had depression and the grief has been overwhelming – but this has really put a smile on my face.

“We moved from bottles to cartons in 1960 and I haven’t seen one since then, so it was quite a throwback.”

The old bottle was found miles away in Clydebank, even though Linburn Fam didn’t deliver to homes there.

The farm did, however, make deliveries to the Singer sewing machine factory – and it’s thought that an employee at the Clydebank site lived at Tricia’s address in Holly Street before she moved in 30 years ago.

Tricia told how she was working in her garden when she found the bottle.

“Straight away, I knew it was old but unique,” she said. “I didn’t want to throw it away.

“I posted on Facebook and Matthew’s business, Linburn Aberdeen Angus, came up, so I got in touch and asked him if he wanted it.

“Matthew told me of his father’s passing in February and now I am so glad I decided to return it.

“He was very grateful and it brought back memories for him.

“Later, he sent me a picture of his dad. It’s as if we have gone full circle.”

The Gazette: Erskine farmer John Stevenson died earlier this yearErskine farmer John Stevenson died earlier this year

Matthew said his contact with Tricia has been like receiving a ‘message in a bottle’ from his dad.

He also paid tribute to her detective skills.

Matthew said: “Tricia told me how she had never moved the fence but, after dropping her hedge trimmers down the back of it, she pulled it away to retrieve them – and there it was.

“The label on the bottle hasn’t been damaged, so she could identify where it was from.

“It’s been protected from the wind and rain all these years because of the hedge.”

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