WILTSHIRE Heritage Muse-um in Devizes could be“effectively bankrupt” in two to three years unless Wiltshire Council comes to its aid.

The museum, which houses the most significant Bronze Age collection outside London, has been running at a deficit ever since the then Wiltshire County Council cut its grant several years ago and last year the shortfall was £69,000, effectively the cost of running the museum.

It is owned and run by the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, a registered charity.

Society chairman, Dr Negley Harte, has written an appeal to members for help in the current issue of the museum’s house magazine, Trilithon. He said: “Members who attended the recent AGM will have heard the stark warning from Peter Glasson, our treasurer.

“He announced that the budgeted deficit for the society for the current year would be over £100,000 and that if we continued to spend at this rate, the society would run out of money in two or three years and become effectively bankrupt.”

Dr Harte said: “We are approaching Wiltshire Council to remind them that their grant has become fossilised at £35,000 and is worth substantially less in real terms than it was 12 years ago.

“The trustees are counting on a sympathetic response from Wiltshire Council. We are asking that our grant be increased by £60,000 a year from next year.”

The council will settle its budget on February. It has refused to comment.