Thames Water have opened a "full investigation" into floods that forced over 300 people to evacuate their homes after a pipe burst in Stoke Newington, north London, just six days after a similar emergency in nearby Islington.

Some 20 properties were flooded around Northwold Road yesterday (11 December) after a 30in water main ruptured and many other homes, including high flats, were cleared as a safety precaution. Thames Water director Bob Collington acknowledged that it had been "an extremely difficult week".

He said: "Having visited and spoken to a number of those impacted, I am personally devastated for those customers who have suffered flooding so close to Christmas. We are doing everything we can to help them and will make sure they are not left out of pocket for what has happened."

"The bursts are a clear reminder that we need to keep investing in our ageing and sometimes fragile network, with many pipes in London well over 100 years old. I have started a full investigation into recent events to understand what has gone wrong and, as a top priority, will look at every single way possible to reduce the risk of any further disruption."

The emergency came just six days after severe flooding in neighbouring Islington caused by another burst water main forced 100 people to be evacuated from their homes.

The London Fire Brigade said that six fire engines and two Rescue Units had attended the floods in Stoke Newington where water levels had, in some places, reached 1m. By their estimates, 150 properties had been affected.

Station Manager Nicol McCallum who was at the scene said: "Crews used specialist inflatable boats to evacuate the most vulnerable residents and help others recover valuables. Firefighters laid down sandbags to try and minimise the water damage."

Thames Water are responsible for maintaining over 10,000 miles of water pipes in London, many of them dating back to the Victorian era.