GIPSIES who likened their Worcestershire sites to concentration camps have been branded ignorant and ill-informed by former prisoners of war.

Evesham and Pershore Housing Association were due to publish their research on the issue today.

The association says more than 1,000 travellers and gipsies living on Wychavon District Council land face poor living conditions and abuse.

The study - entitled Where's The Real Choice? - says travellers live in fear of violence and theft.

It also criticises the location of approved traveller sites, which are often hidden behind high fences and lines of trees.

One of the travellers quoted in the study said many of the sites looked like concentration camps.

"When I watch Second World War films I can relate to the prisoners of war," quotes the report.

But former prisoners of war say that the people who made the comments have no idea what they are talking about.

Fred Seiker, who lives in Worcester, was a Japanese prisoner of war for three-and-a-half years and is a survivor of the notorious Thai-Burma Railway.

"What they're saying actually goes beyond an insult," he said. "It's almost not worth making a comment about because these statements have been made by ignorant people.

"Saying that their sites are like a concentration camp is a nonsense. It's ridiculous."

Ron Harrison, of Hallow, agreed that the gipsies have no idea what the PoWs went through.

"I was a prisoner of war in Poland for five years," said the former 7th Battalion soldier with the Worcestershire Regiment.

"How can people know what that was like unless they were there?"