Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 18:00 UK

Gypsies welcome travellers event

Gypsy development
Tom Brazil said the families had been accepted in the area

A Gypsy leader has welcomed a police move to stage an event to build bridges between local people and travellers.

The Warwickshire force is hosting a day of Gypsy, Roma and traveller history and culture at its headquarters at Leek Wootton on Saturday.

Tom Brazil said: "We want to show people we are not as bad as the stereotype makes us."

The day-long event includes traditional story-telling, dance, cultural memorabilia and a Roma band.

Assistant Chief Constable Bill Holland said: "Unauthorised encampments have become a source of friction between police and Gypsies and travellers.

"We know education is at the heart of some of these contentious issues."

He went on: "Hopefully this day will be the start of building relationships with the aim of better understanding and learning about the different cultures and societies we all live in."

Mr Brazil is one of the Gypsies who have been given temporary permission to stay on land where they built a camp outside Shipston.

He thinks the special event is a good thing.

He says travellers were often misunderstood, but really wanted to be part of the community.

"Once people talk to us they realise we are not as bad as we are made out," he said.

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