RAIL stations will be turned into a “criminals’ paradise” according to union bosses if recommendations to close station ticket offices go ahead.

Twenty-four Sussex stations have been named on a “hit list” of stations that will be left unstaffed including London Road, in Brighton, Falmer and Moulsecoomb.

The Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) said it found the list in a report drawn up by Sir Roy McNulty on how to achieve savings across the industry. The proposed changes to rail faires or ticketing will be examined as part of a government review.

Southern Rail said it has “no plans” to close any stations in Sussex.

TSSA leader Gerry Doherty warned that passengers, especially women, will feel less safe travelling and will find it more difficult to buy tickets.

A TSSA spokesman said: “It is particularly ironic that Sussex is suffering under the Coalition given the pledges that Lewes MP Norman Baker made before he was in opposition.

“Not only did he say that the Lib Dems would cut rail fares after the election, he also promised extra revenue for transport in general. Now the area is suffering from exorbitant fare increases and a huge reduction of the quality of service to local passengers.”

Mr Baker was not available for comment yesterday.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), said the list revealed the “shocking scale of the ticket office massacre”.

He said: “These cuts would de-staff stations including busy stations such as commuter stations such as London Road and Moulsecoomb and turn the rail network into a criminals’ paradise, and that’s why we are uniting workers and passengers in a huge campaign of resistance.”

The TSSA said the report recommends removing staff from all category E stations to save £1 billion a year.

Passenger groups have also voiced concerns.

Ray Chapman, of East Sussex Rail Alliance, said: “I believe the stations should be manned as many hours as possible, especially in stations such as Bexhill where the passengers are of an older age and are not as confident with machines. They rely on staff for cheaper ticket prices and to feel safe and secure.

“It could be seen as a false economy as we might see a downturn in ticket sales and more fraud as people travel without a ticket.”