Concerns have been raised over plans to reduce services at a nature reserve in Sutton Coldfield..

Families living near Plantsbrook Nature Reserve said they were worried anti-social behaviour will return when park rangers are no longer on patrol.

Birmingham City Council is to remove the free service for schools and groups. A formal consultation is underway with staff members.

More than 100 residents have signed a petition against the proposals, which also affect allotments and tree management.

Peter Moran, who lives in Blakesley Close, said: “The reserve is surrounded by residential properties and residents are extremely concerned about what is going to happen. The residents feel very vulnerable. It could mean an increase in anti-social behaviour and drug dealing. Even if the reserve is locked up it won’t stop people from gaining access.”

Situated off Eachelhurst Road, the reserve comprises of a number of pools, surrounded by woodland, wetlands and a wildflower meadow, making it an oasis for its wildlife.

Coun Linda Clinton (Lab Tyburn) said: “Park rangers and residents have worked closely with police to stop drugs and anti-social behaviour.

“We are worried this will become an open ticket for this to come back. It is a beautiful place used by 40 schools and over 1,500 school children. If the gates are locked because there are no rangers schools and local scout groups will all lose out.”

Birmingham City Council said the plans were down to budget decisions by the department for Children, Young People and Families.