COUNCIL SITTING ON TREASURE TROVE

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WIGAN’S cash-strapped council is sitting on a £2m treasure trove.

A staggering 800 antiques and pieces of art are hidden away unseen and gathering dust at several locations around the borough.

One of the most valuable is a Bechstein Grand Piano worth more than £27,500.

There are also at least 50 largely rare paintings and prints and also hundreds of pieces of china and musical instruments, valued by experts at more than £6,000 each.

The single most valuable item is the 1876 painting, ‘Going North’ by George Earl, valued at £700,000.

This is the only thing not hidden away, hanging instead for all to enjoy in the council chamber.

Now leading Lib Dem opposition councillor Robert Bleakley, who has tracked down the “astonishing” hoard, is calling for a massive sell-off to raise cash to boost the council’s beleaguered coffers.

Coun Bleakley told the Observer: “It is nothing more than a council antiques hoard show.

“I am totally gobsmacked by the scale of all this.”