WORCESTER City Council has fenced off two trees in a park and put up signs warning people: watch out for falling pears!

It says the precaution has been taken to stop anyone being hurt.

But people visiting Cripplegate Park, St John's, describe it as a barmy nanny- state ruling.

Red and white tape surrounds the trees and a plastic barrier has been set up to prevent anyone walking directly under the pears.

Both trees, which are black-pear trees, the symbol of Worcestershire, have bright orange signs attached to the bark saying Warning Pears Falling.

Barry Cox, of Grenville Road, Dines Green, said: "This is total madness. It seems that people aren't credited with common sense anymore. These signs are over the top."

Helen Crump, of Bromyard Road, St John's, said she laughed when she saw the signs. "This world has just gone mad. It's the nanny-state ruling. I don't think anybody can be killed by a pear falling, she said."

Graham Lingard, who lives just beside the park in Cripplegate House, said: "What's next? Will they be passing out crash helmets for us to walk through the park?"

Melanie Griffiths, a visitor from Swansea, shook her head as she passed the signs. She said: "What is wrong with this country now? This is just stupid."

Also visiting was Chris Earl, of Cairns, Australia. He he said it was a damning indictment of modern society.

He said: "There is a fear that the council could be sued and they think this is the best strategy to deal with this sort of thing. The same thing is going on in Australia."

Ian Yates, parks and cemeteries manager for Worcester City Council, said he was surprised by the furore because the signs were also put up last year after a member of the public requested them.

He said: "If we felled the trees or closed the park I would understand the concern, but this is an adequate response. It's a smashing year for very leafy fruits and there are some sizeable pears and not everyone is going to be passing thinking that a pear might fall on them, especially children. These signs divert people away from the danger."

However, he did add that the fear about being sued was also at the back of the council's mind. When questioned about litigation, he said: "This is a lot cheaper than having a no-win no-fee solicitor taking the council to court."

He said he expected the signs would be taken down when autumn weather had brought down the majority of the fruit.