A war of words has broken out in Porthleven, leaving a 70-year-old woman unable to collect her pension - because she has been banned from entering the post office.

Staff are refusing to serve Elizabeth Smith from Tregunna Close, claiming she is “the rudest woman we have ever come across.”

In response, Mrs Smith is alleging that the post office and stores on Fore Street “conned” her out of £10 and she will now be forced to pay a taxi to take her to Helston's post office each week.

As a result she has been left feeling like a second class citizen.

Mrs Smith said: “I was told I must not walk across the floor from the door to the post office counter as I'm 'trespassing'. I'm barred from the shop.

“They said, 'If you don't get out we'll call the police'. I'm 70, with a stick and a dodgy ticker - I wouldn't take a lot of evicting would I?”

The situation escalated from an incident that took place two weeks ago, when Mrs Smith asked staff to take £10 from that week's pension to top up the credit on her mobile telephone.

However, after getting home she found the transaction had failed to register and the money had not been added.

Returning to the shop she asked for the £10 back, which staff refused to pay saying it was a problem with her phone company.

She also contacted the company, who have since added not just the £10 credit but doubled it - but Mrs Smith feels this was merely a “good will gesture” and she should still have had the money returned by Porthleven Post Office.

Mrs Smith acknowledges that she did start shouting, saying: “I did get a bit cross I must admit. The following week I went in to get my pension in the normal way and the postmaster started shouting at me.

“All this over £10 - it's ridiculous.”

However, postmaster Paul Edwards said his staff no longer wanted Mrs Smith “abusing them”, adding: “She is very, very rude woman. She comes in and shouts and abuses my staff and they don't need it.

“She's the sort of woman you can't reason with. I don't want her in the store upsetting the staff. I'm afraid it's gone on too long.”

Mr Edwards claimed the whole situation had broken out over a “misunderstanding” by Mrs Smith over why her phone was not registering the credit, saying the mobile phone provider had been affected by delays.

“They instructed us themselves not to reissue another voucher, as they would sort it themselves. Yet she's still abusive and saying we've 'conned her',” he added.

“She is in the store shouting and pointing fingers, making accusations. I'm doing it for the good of my staff and regular customers.

“She said she told all her friends not to go here - that's quite detrimental. Times are hard as it is - you don't want people shouting things that aren't true.”

It is not known whether there will be any comeback from Post Office Ltd.