EVESHAM and Pershore Housing Association has called in police and auditors to investigate allegations of fraud.

The move follows an internal audit and EPHA chief executive Ian Hughes said: "Although I cannot comment upon the individual circumstances, our investigations have concentrated upon a relatively small part of the maintenance budget."

He added: "Also, as a Registered Social Landlord, the association operates a comprehensive framework of controls designed to safeguard tenants and limit the risk of financial loss through fraud.

"These controls include appropriate insurance cover to protect the association and tenants from any loss which may be found."

Chairman of the board of management Richard Williams said the association's audit panel would "examine the outcome of the investigations very thoroughly to see whether the controls could be improved."

Both Mr Hughes and Mr Williams said no further comment would be made on the detail of the investigation referred to the police.

The association has, in addition to seeking police help, asked KPMG to carry out an internal investigation, and another team of auditors, not yet chosen, to inquire into the association's external operations.

The Housing Association confirmed it was aware of the situation and West Mercia police said they had received a complaint over alleged irregularities.

Evesham and Pershore Housing Association was formed seven years ago when it took over homes in the south of the district from Wychavon District Council after a ballot by tenants in favour of a transfer to the new association.

EPHA currently has around 4,000 homes and has expanded its activities into surrounding areas while at the same time building new homes.

The association is governed by a board of members drawn from the local community, and including tenants, with three members appointed by Wychavon. The positions are voluntary and unpaid.