POLICE chiefs counting the cost of the Novichok poisonings on the county's force could be left £1m out of pocket.

Ministers have pledged £3m to Wiltshire Police to help cover the ongoing costs of policing the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury.

It brings the total amount promised to the force by government to £9.6m. But, with the overall costs of the operation expected to reach nearly £11m, it leaves £1.35m unaccounted for.

Angus Macpherson, police and crime commissioner, said the costs of the Novichok incidents was the equivalent of 10 per cent of Wiltshire Police's budget.

"The money reimbursed to us so far matches our outgoings in regards to the operations so the force is not operating at a deficit," he said.

"I have been in frequent contact with the Policing Minister, and those conversations remain an absolute priority for me, to ensure that policing in Wiltshire and Swindon is not affected by the financial implications of these high profile and complex major incidents.

“I continue to be so proud of the resilience of those who have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of the public in Amesbury and Salisbury.

"Wiltshire Police resources were stretched more than ever as a result of these incidents and we continue to have officers on cordons today."

When expenditure is totalled-up, Wiltshire police chiefs expect to have spent £2.5m on overtime for its own officers, £6.5m on relief officers from other forces and £327,000 on replacing police vehicles.