VANDALS who padlocked the gates of Carpenders Park railway station on Sunday night trapped seven people who had to be rescued by the fire brigade.

Crews were called to the station just after 11pm by the desperate men and women who thought they had been locked in by railway staff.

Firefighters freed them by using bolt cutters before putting out a smouldering notice board on the platform.

A Watford firefighter said: 'I have to say that when we got there those seven people were not very happy.'

Silverlink staff who had been called to the scene by the fire brigade arranged taxis to take the men and women home and explained that the station is never locked.

A spokesman said: 'All our stations are left open at night and at Carpenders Park it would be beyond our ability to shut it anyway as the area is a public right of way.

'We were very grateful to the fire brigade for their prompt action in freeing the stranded passengers and as it was so late at night we thought it best to arrange cabs for them.

'We are very concerned about fire on our railways and our CCTV tapes from the station have been pulled by police for examination.

'Vandalism not only endangers the lives of our customers and train crews but also of the vandals themselves and we don't want to see either happen.'