CHILDREN sent to Thurrock from London are contributing to rising crime, a leading councillor has said.

Barry Johnson, councillor responsible for education and children’s social care, said herding and looking after young people from the city is a growing problem.

He said: “We need to talk to London boroughs about this and say before you send them to Thurrock or Southend think twice because it isn’t necessarily helping by sending them.

“We are so near to London they just hop on a train. We need to have a conversation with the London boroughs because sending someone here to say keep them away from gang crime is helping.

“It has been apparent for some time that London boroughs are transferring their troubled children to get them away from gang culture.

They transfer them to Thurrock quite legally but need to have a discussion about it.

“Thurrock is 25 minutes away and they can visit their friends and come back again. I’m not saying we don’t want them here but to think about it.

“Think where it is safer for them to be.

“We are now monitoring more offences. They are creeping up in the borough and it is quite clear that some offenders are children from elsewhere.

“Thurrock is not a culture change for them. We are just half an hour down the road.

“It needs to be considered on a case by case basis.”

Southend has also been singled out by London boroughs as a good place to send troubled youngsters.

Laurie Burton, Southend councillor responsible for children and learning, said: “We always try to place looked after children as close to home as possible.

“London boroughs will do the same, but are faced with housing pressures so some will be placed outside London.

“Where young people are placed here, we work with London boroughs to ensure their needs are met.

“Where a young person may have been placed in Southend to get away from nefarious influences, we would work with police and other services to make sure that young person receives support, to ensure Southend is a fresh start for them.”