Villagers are angry after land where children have played for more than 50 years was sold by the Ministry of Defence.

Two fields in Barton Stacey were sold at auction for £97,500 along with a garage site in the village.

Residents were furious because they were told of the sell-off only a few weeks before.

The parish council wanted to buy the smaller field, known as the tennis court field, but could not afford the £90,000 price at short notice.

Samantha Lee, 38, of Roberts Road, Barton Stacey, said: “Where are our children going to play and where are we going to walk safely away from the road now? We are all in a bit of mad panic. I must admit I had a bit of a cry because it’s so upsetting.”

All the land is currently designated as countryside, which means it is out of bounds to builders.

Parish council chairman Paul Gibson believes the village could have bought the field given more time.

The MoD has insisted that all the land was placed on the register of surplus land in April 2011 and that it has “acted in accordance with Treasury guidelines”.