As the weather turns warmer and the nights shorter some residents are risking life and limb for a shot at romance.

But this year the notorious Ham toads, which make a yearly migration from Richmond Park to Ham Common in search of a suitable breeding spot, will get a helping hand to ensure a safe 100m trek to their new home.

To help them on their way Richmond Council decided to temporarily close part of the road they have to cross.

The council’s traffic and transport department issued a notice to residents living near the park about the closure of Church Lane, part of Church Road, Ham, “to allow the toads to cross unharmed and to eliminate the risk of accidents if drivers were to be distracted by the presence of these creatures in their path”.

But residents are not happy about the planned March 14 to 29 closure.

Marie Carmen Vaccaro, of north Kingston, branded it ridiculous. She said: “I am an animal lover, like most people in this country, but what I am very annoyed about is that I will have to make long, unnecessary one-mile detours, waste time, fuel and carbon emissions just to avoid a toad migration that nobody in this area has ever witnessed.”