VANDALS forced the complete closure of the Bury to Manchester tram line for nearly 24 hours at the weekend.

Fibre optic cabling at Crumpsall was slashed on Friday evening, resulting in signalling and communication failures along a 25-metre stretch of line.

Metrolink engineers worked throughout the night to get the trams back on line, but it was not until 3.30pm on Saturday that normal services could resume.

Hundreds of workers trying to get home on Friday were left stranded at stations when the tram system came to halt just after 4.30pm.

No replacement buses were added because the route was well served by existing services, a Metrolink spokesperson said.

Metrolink itself has lost a substantial amount of money in ticket sales.

Now Greater Manchester Police are investigating the damage to the signalling cable and the fibre-optic communications cable at the Crumpsall tram station.

It is believed offenders had broken through a chain fence to get at the cables.

Mr Kevin Thomas, from Metrolink, confirmed: "We discovered 25 metres of signalling cable and fibre-optic cable was cut, which resulted in signalling and communications failure."