A HALESOWEN firm has stepped up security at its derelict site after worried residents called for action to stop trespassers.

People living in Brier Mill Road are fed up with a stream of people stealing from the former Sandvik Coromant HQ on Manor Way and said they feel "vulnerable and scared."

Part of the building has been demolished to make way for a car park at the new smaller HQ, which is already open on the site.

The demolition of the remainder of the building will not resume until a planning permission from Spitfire Homes for houses on the site is approved by Dudley Council.

Sandvik said this week it has put security on the derelict building overnight and on weekends in response to concerns and that the building has been stripped inside, with nothing left of value to take.

It is calling for Dudley Council to approve plans as soon as possible.

Resident Carolyn Taylor said on bank holiday (May 1) a gang of around 30 men got onto the site at 9pm with baseball bats and attacked the building, but police said they were too busy to come out.

She said travellers set up camp on the site for two days last summer and "ripped the building to pieces" before being moved on, which was "terrifying."

Carolyn said: "The original traffic barrier has now been reinstated with concrete blocks, but the site is still open to walk into, with holes in perimeter fencing and the building and warehouse left wide open.

"During the night, vans and cars pull into the space at the blocked barrier, enter the site on foot and steal items to load into vans.

"Residents are too afraid to make themselves seen but it is a persistent problem.

"We are scared and feel vulnerable - there's rubbish everywhere - the building is wide open to crime.

"We want the site secured to protect everyone and stop the crime."

Halesowen MP James Morris said: “Whilst the new Sandvik development and the plans for housing are welcome, I can understand the concerns of residents as the old site remains standing and demolition work has stalled.

“I will be contacting the police to raise the concerns residents have over their personal safety and that of their homes and vehicles, and also urging Dudley Council for speedy action to ensure work on the site can be completed as soon as possible.”

Kim Olander, Marketing Manager at Sandvik Coromant said: "We have continuously urged DMBC and Spitfire Homes to work towards a speedy resolution as the demolition will re-commence as soon as planning consent has been granted.

"In the interim period, we have instructed on site security around the old building during out of office hours (Monday to Thursday 5pm – 7am and from Friday 5pm to Monday 7am).

"We sincerely believe this will act as an effective deterrent until the building is fully demolished."

Councillor Paul Bradley, deputy leader of Dudley Council, said the planning application is "currently being assessed."

He added: "A date to determine the application has not been confirmed at this stage.”

West Midlands Police have been contacted for comment.