RESIDENTS were forced to flee their homes after being hit by flooding for the second time in four days.

About a dozen families evacuated homes in Rigby Avenue and Blenmar Close, Radcliffe, after water began seeping in through front and back doors and up through floorboards.

Bury Council staff delivered 1,000 sandbags to help people keep the water out of their homes.

The flooding was caused by a blocked culvert in a nearby field which was unable to cope with heavy rain spilling from an overflow at the nearby Elton Reservoir. Water spilled over the MetroLink line over and into the residential roads.

A section of Bury Road was also flooded and it was closed near its junction with Rigby Avenue. The Metrolink was closed at 10.20am with replacement bus services put on between Bury and Whitefield.

The first fire engines were called to the scene from Whitefield at 4am today, and two pumps were draining 4,500 litres of water a minute into drains on the main road.

A specialist fire service pump, able to deal with 6,500 litres a minute, arrived from Bradford in the afternoon and crews from Bolton North, Farnworth, Bury and Broughton were among those at the scene.

British Waterways allowed the water to be drained into the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal and opened up sluice gates to reduce reservoir levels. Bury Council staff worked to unblock the culvert.

Among the people affected was Amanda Kelly, aged 40, of Blenmar Close, who was preparing to move to her mother's house with her children, Ricky, aged 15, and Aaron, aged 12.

"The water has been coming up from underneath the house and we have been advised to leave," she said.

"We lifted up the floorboards and could see the water rising. If the levels continue to go up it will be in the house but we got onto our insurance company after it started on Monday and fortunately we are covered."

Christian Gomez, aged 24, and also of Blenmar Avenue, took the day off work. With water seeping in through the front and back doors and the floorboards getting damp, he felt unable to leave his partner Charlotte Barber, aged 21, and their eight-month old daughter Olivia-Leigh.

Their backyard was turned into a three-foot deep pond by the floods.

The couple were also left without electricity after they turned it off through fear of an accident. Miss Barber said: "It's surreal. You see this sort of thing on the TV but you don't expect it to happen to you."

Jill Turner, aged 56, of Rigby Avenue, added: "I've been here for 37 years and I've never seen anything like it, it beggars belief."