A grandmother exasperated by footballs being kicked into her garden was visited by police who told her that if she failed to return them she could be charged with theft.
Penny Freeman, 73, was visited by officers after keeping a handful of footballs that her next-door-neighbour's children had accidentally kicked over the wall.
The grandmother, who lives with her brother James Fudge, said she had started keeping the balls in her shed after the children failed to come and collect them because she "wanted them to learn consequences".
She said: "Last year, we thought we would keep the balls for a week and see if they would come and ask for them back. They never did.
"We had 10 balls in our shed. We only kept them for a week. We had no intention of destroying them. This year, we thought we would do the same thing but the police came round."
Ms Freeman says two Humberside Police officers came to her house in Bridlington, Yorkshire, after her neighbours complained that she had failed to return two balls kicked into her garden the previous day.
She said several of the balls had damaged plant pots and added that she was concerned police time had been wasted.
"I am very, very angry. We put so much work into this garden, we are both in our mid-70s. It's not as if we are bitter and twisted old so-and-sos.
"We like to get on with our neighbours. We are reasonable people and are parents ourselves," she said.
Her neighbour, who did not want to be named, admitted that the balls had been kicked over the wall, but said her children, aged 11 and six, were too scared to go and retrieve them.
She said: "It has been going on since they moved in. We just want them to chuck the balls back over the wall.
"My children don't want to go once the ball has gone over, she claims we have smashed plants on a couple of occasions.
"I don't send them round anymore, she's a bit rude. I am scared of her, I am not sending my children."
A Humberside Police spokesman said: "A Police Community Support Officer has visited both parties involved in a neighbour dispute in the Vernon Road area of Bridlington.
"Words of advice have been offered to take steps to resolve the matter.
"Our police community support officers are best placed to deal with and mediate in matters of this nature and are keen to offer practical advice and solutions to prevent situations escalating further."