Vulnerable children in Greenwich’s care system have been moved hundreds of miles outside of the borough, costing the council millions of pounds a year, it can be revealed.

Children in care are living up to 300 miles from Greenwich in Devon, Liverpool and Lancashire, costing the council £20m a year, an investigation has found.

An average of 550 looked-after children a year have been placed outside the borough since 2013, with some kids moved more than once.

Some children have been moved as far away as Newcastle Upon Tyne, Oldham and St Helens.

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A freedom of information request revealed 102 different authorities have been used to find Greenwich children housing since 2013.

The majority of kids are sent to Kent, Bexley or Lewisham – but there have been dozens of occasions where placements have been well outside the usual 20-mile radius.

Wiltshire, Wales, Cornwall and Devon have all be utilised at least once in the last five years, according to an investigation by the Local Democracy Reporting service.

A spokesman for the council said annual costs relate to complex needs of kids in care.

The spokesman said: “We place children in our care according to their assessed needs. We seek to place children as close to their home as possible if this has been assessed as being in their best interests.

“Children are only placed at a greater distance if this is the best way to meet their needs and this is usually because they require a more specialised placement.

“The annual cost does not relate to distance, but to the complex needs of the children in our care.”