PENSIONERS and other members of the public were frozen out of the city's main post office yesterday after the security system locked everyone out of the building.

The main office for Worcester, on Foregate Street, had its doors closed to customers all day.

At lunchtime, people said they had been waiting in the freezing cold since before 9am for the office to open.

And one pensioner, Mary Adams, aged 80, was taken in by staff at the Andrew Grant estate agents opposite, and given a warming cup of tea on the bitterly cold day. She had stood outside the post office for more than two hours.

"I came into town by taxi to pick up my pension. I was standing outside from 8.30 until 10.45 when they invited me in. They've been very kind," said the pensioner from Back Lane South in Barbourne.

"I don't want to come back in to town tomorrow - it's more expense in the taxi, and a worry to leave the house," she added.

Helen Miles, aged 37, had walked into town from Brickfields Road and had been waiting since 9am to draw her benefits.

"I've had enough. I know it's not the workers' fault, but there should be something so we can draw our money. I haven't got a penny on me at the moment - that's why I walked in and I'm waiting now," said Ms Miles.

"A lot of pensioners get the bus down and they have to get back home. I'm sure some only come down once a week - they'll not want to come back down again this week," she added.

"Basically, the security system locked us out," said a Post Office Ltd spokesman. "It was a malfunction of the system and these things are not easy to override.

"There is nothing we can do, although once technicians have completed their work, we will be carrying out an investigation to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"We apologise to any customers who have been inconvenienced by this closure."

This morning the post office opened for business as usual.