Almighty relief for super sleuth minister who tracked down stolen phone

A minister turned detective and put the fear of God into a thief who stole his mobile phone.

Rev Bill Wishart locked his Samsung Galaxy Note 9 remotely and posted a message on the screen which said that it belonged to a Church of Scotland minister and was essential for his work.

He used the "Find my Phone" app to track the location of the device to a house in Johnstone in Renfrewshire and informed the police.

Rev Bill Wishart
Daily bread still on the menu - Rev Bill Wishart with his phone after its mysterious return

The minister of St Martin's Parish Church in Edinburgh posted a second message with his daughter's phone number and urged the thief to safely return it to him because it would soon be wiped and rendered unsellable.

The handset, which Mr Wishart, 54, accidentally left in a shopping trolley outside the B&M store in Linwood on Saturday was found by a man in a trolley at Asda around a mile away the following day.

Best trick yet

The grandfather, who is an amateur magician known as the Minister of Magic, joked: "It is such great news to get my phone back and for it to disappear from a trolley in one place and reappear in another trolley a mile away is my best trick yet.

"I reckon they got panicky and realised that the phone was too hot to keep and it wasn't just the police looking for them because they had God on their case too.

"I am very thankful to the lovely guy in Paisley who found the phone and arranged for it to be returned to me.

"There is not a scratch on it and he very reluctantly accepted £20 for his trouble."

Free bread

Mr Wishart said the return of his phone meant that people in the local community would continue getting their "Daily Bread".

"My church works in partnership with Hovis which has been supplying us with up to 250 loaves of bread a week for the last four months which we have distributed to people in the local community," he explained.

"It is delivered to the church and I have also been giving it away for free from baskets outside the building which has been a great way to connect with people.

"I was worried that if I didn't get my phone back, Kenny from Hovis wouldn't be able to get in touch with me easily and that could put the bread delivery in jeopardy."

Mr Wishart was assisted by his Linwood-based son Alistair and his daughter Rachel and her partner Scott from Holytown in the hunt for his lost phone which he says he has used more than ever for online worship activities during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.