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Worcester council has moved with lightning speed to protect citizens from killer pear trees, The Sun reports.

Officials cordoned off the pair of 30-ft arboreal assassins - which have stood in Cripplegate Park for 50 years - after "receiving a complaint the trees are a health hazard".

The trees bear the black pear which is the symbol of Worcestershire. The fruit can reach 1lb, and to ensure that nobody is in any doubt as to their potentially fatal weight, the council also attached sign to the tress reading "Warning, pears falling!".

Local reaction was predictable. Barry Cox, 40, told The Sun: "This is a crazy waste of time and money. It seems people aren't credited with common sense any more. Next thing they will be issuing people with hard hats before they enter the park."

Helen Crump, 32, weighed in with: "It's the nanny state. The world has gone mad. I've never heard of anyone killed by a falling pear."

However, the council's parks and cemeteries manager Ian Yates defended: "If we felled the trees or closed the park, I'd understand the resentment - but this is an adequate response. There are some sizeable pears and not everyone is going to be passing thinking a pear might fall on them, especially children. These signs divert people away from the danger."

It's not just kids' welfare which is keeping the council awake at night, though. Explaining the very real danger of pear-flavoured litigation, Yates added: "This is a lot cheaper than having a no-win, no-fee solicitor taking us to court." ®

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