Royal Mail is under fire after a post office in Yorkshire rejected a five-year-old girl’s passport application photo on the grounds that it showed her with bare shoulders. However, Royal Mail will neither confirm nor deny press reports that this was because the post office felt the photo may offend Muslims.

A counter clerk at a post office in Sheffield reportedly told Jane Edwards that her daughter’s exposed skin may be considered offensive in a Muslim country, according to articles in national newspapers.

Jane and daughter Hannah were planning a family trip to the south of France.

Though the Royal Mail admits that the post office made a mistake it refused to comment on the specific reason for the rejection of the photo when challenged on this by AP yesterday, other than to say: “We have apologised to our customer. All our post offices have clear instructions on what is or is not acceptable in photographs. Bare shoulders do not come into that at all and clearly a mistake was made by the counter clerk.”

The Royal Mail spokesman claimed that this was the first time it has heard of such a rejection.

“We will take it up with that particular office,” confirmed the spokesman.