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Two boys who were moved between a total of 173 foster homes over 13 years while also suffering abuse have won the right to compensation.

A high court judge ruled that failures by the social workers responsible for them had caused "havoc" in the brothers' lives.

One boy was moved between 96 foster homes and his brother was sent to 77, the court heard. Both suffered abuse while they were in foster care.

They are likely to claim £100,000 from Lancashire County Council after social workers passed them from foster home to foster home without securing successful adoptions for 13 years.

Mr Justice Peter Jackson said at Liverpool high court that the way the brothers were taken care of by social workers "amounted in reality to permanently looked-after disruption".

The brothers, known as A and S, are now aged 16 and 14. They were taken into care in 1998 when A was two and S was six months old.

The boy's mother had abandoned them after their father committed suicide a month after the couple separated.

Social workers originally planned to place them with an aunt, a single mother with six children, but those plans fell through.

In March 2001, more than three years after they were taken into care, the boys were given legal orders that freed them for adoption.

But social workers failed in finding adoptive families for the brothers, and they drifted between foster homes for years without ever being properly placed into care.

Jackson said: "The boys have had major placements, emergency placements, temporary placements, respite placements and respite for respite placements."

By 2008, the brothers were "deeply distressed and disturbed and showed formidably challenging and sometimes violent behaviour," according to the court.

Their lawyer, Antonia Love, said: "This is one of the most shocking cases we have come across of children being failed by the care system."