Troops' Olympic Accommodation Criticised

Soldiers guarding Olympic sites in London are being housed in what family members of the personnel describe as substandard accommodation.

Relatives of the personnel from 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (1PWRR) are being housed at Tobacco Dock near Tower Bridge to help with security at the games. 

The troops, who have been on operations in Afghanistan recently, were drafted in following the G4S fiasco when the security firm admitted it did not have enough staff to provide security for the games. 

Around 500 of the men from 1PWRR are sleeping on camp beds, prompting one mother to say the situation was 'absolutely disgusting'. 

Fiona Mason, from Fair Oak, whose son Paul, 21, is in the regiment, says: "They were treated better in the desert."

Margaret Powell, 67, from Hill Head, is aware several of her son's friends are staying at Tobacco Dock. "They come back from Afghanistan and they're treated like second class citizens - prisoners are treated better."

Other parents alleged the troops did not have electricity - a situation denied by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). 

Around 2,500 service personnel are at the Grade 1 listed Tobacco Dock as part of the security for the Games. 

The MoD said around 17,000 members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in total are now involved in the Olympic security effort.

The 16,000 square metre site, a 10-minute walk from Tower Bridge, was found at short notice by the military after the last-minute problems with security. 

In a statement, the MoD said: "The photograph is taken at Tobacco Dock in East London, which the MoD announced several days ago would be used to accommodate the additional military contribution to Olympic security over the next two weeks. 

"The specific area shown in the photograph is underground; it is dry, lit, equipped with ablution facilities and has power and WiFi capability. It compares very positively with the type of living arrangements soldiers will have experienced on overseas operations and on regular military exercises in the UK."