MOST of the water has been pumped out of the gas system in East Barnet Village and gas is beginning to return.

Now water has to be siphoned from each household's own pipes individually before their gas supply can be switched back on.

National Grid engineers worked late into the night to start doing this.

According to the head of operations, Dave Leutchford, some households saw an end to their ordeal last night, when engineers were able to switch their supply back on.

“It's a case of pumping out the water from individual properties,” he said.

“They have varying pressure which will affect their supply. Will we get everyone back for Christmas? We don't know but we'll move heaven and earth to do it.”

An emergency team from the National Grid has been working on the problem since Sunday, after a water main burst in York Road which led to water escaping into the gas supply.

Barnet Council, the Red Cross and Barnet Police have also been helping.

Snow, which started falling in mid-afternoon yesterday, has slowed the process down, with gas engineers heading out by foot to the affected households.