WIGAN Council has paid out nearly £3.5 million in compensation to members of the public and employees in the past three years.

Figures released under a Freedom of Information request revealed the huge sums claimed by members of the public and council workers for injuries to themselves or their property.

The Wigan Observer can exclusively reveal that last year alone Wigan Metro paid out £750,000 to members of the public in compensation - including £126,364 for damage caused by potholes.

Other claims paid out to the public in 2010/11 included nearly £20,000 for incidents involving manhole covers and nearly £50,000 for falls on council property.

Compensation paid out for incidents involving highway gullies cost Wigan Metro £65,278 last year. There were also numerous claims for footpath defects, totalling more than £133,000 in 2010/11.

Council workers claimed more than £375,000 in 2010/11, for incidents including a £128,151 claim involving lifting equipment.

Other claims involving council employees last year included a £6,194 claim for a worker who was hit by an object, a £13,819 claim for defective tools and two £8,500 claims for falls.

There was also a £12,333 claim for an incident involving an irritant (usually caused by chemicals).

In 2008/09 Wigan Metro paid out £873,700 in compensation to members of the public and £358,000 to council employees.

The following year, 2009/10, they paid out £687,300 to members of the public and £406,100 to employees.

The council were unavailable for comment as the Observer went to press.