TWO police stations were closed to the public over the Christmas period due to staff taking holidays.

A sign on the door of Wanstead police station in Spratt Hall Road informed people hoping to report crime that the station will be closed until January 2 for ‘operational reasons’.

A sign on Woodford police station in High Road stated simply that the station is closed.

Explaining the closures, Borough Commander Sue Williams said: "Keeping [Wanstead] open would have meant taking a police officer off the street.

"We are quite short of staff this time of year.

"With the Olympics everyone is trying to take their annual leave now.

"I wasn’t aware that Woodford police station was closed as well. It might have been for similar reasons."

Woodford police station was closed to the public for two weeks in the summer as a member of staff had gone on holiday.

Both front counters are earmarked for permanent closure as the Met looks to save £500million by 2015.

Lori Shearer of Monkhams Ward Neighbourhood Watch group said: "This does not surprise me.

"What we are leaning towards is reporting crime online."