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Fed up with the near-Arctic temperatures at home, a seven-year-old German girl and her six-year-old boyfriend hatched a plan to "elope" to Africa and get married in the sun. But their dreams were thwarted after officials stopped them boarding a train to the airport, police revealed yesterday.

The two children, identified as Mika and Anna-Lena, packed bathing costumes, a lilo, sunglasses and food and set off on New Year's Day from their home in the town of Langenhagen near Hanover.

Anna Lena's five-year-old sister was invited along as a witness at the wedding.

The three took a tram to Hanover station, where they had planned to board a train to the city's airport. But railway officials intervened.

"The couple were very much in love and had planned to get married in Africa where it is warm," a Hanover police spokesman said yesterday.

Police said the three had hatched their plan to elope on New Year's Eve as their families were celebrating together.

Mika had won over the girls with his account of a holiday in "warm" Italy. Temperatures in Germany have been as low as -10C since Christmas.

Two policewomen persuaded the couple they could realise their plans "a bit later" and they enjoyed a tour of Hanover police station before being taken home by their parents.