LIVE cockroaches were found in the kitchens of a popular city centre cafe located opposite Oxford's Radcliffe Camera.

The Vaults and Garden Cafe, which is based within a 14th century church, was given a two-star rating by hygiene inspectors following a surprise visit by Oxford City Council’s health team on May 28.

As well as the pests, a report following the inspection also raised issues with cleanliness, out-of-date food and water leaks.

The inspector stated in their report: “At the time of my inspection, there was evidence of cockroaches in the kitchen.

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"A number of live cockroaches were attached to a sticky trap on the floor close to the dish washer.

"Live cockroaches were found behind the under counter refrigerator and one on the other side of the door leading to the boiler room."

They added: "Pest control records showed recent visits from pest control and I appreciate that at the time of my visit arrangements were made with pest control to flush out and treat for cockroaches the following morning."

The report recommended the cafe be 'deep cleaned' adding: “Remove food debris and clear floor to rear of equipment.

“There appears to be a leak from one of the dishwashers. Ensure to maintain machine in good working order, repair any leaking part."

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On concerns over the dates on food, the report stated: "One lentil dish was labelled as made on 24/5 use by 27/5. This was out of date.

“Foods which exceed use by must not be used. Food are labelled giving a four-day shelf life. The day of cooking or preparation plus two (three days) is recommended.

The business was contacted for comment but did not respond before the paper went to print.

A statement from the business has now said when the visit took place the cafe's pest control contractor had already identified the presence of cockroaches and was in the process of delivering 'an intensive course of treatment to remove the pests'.

It added: “Following a thorough assessment, we now have four months of records to prove that there has been no evidence of activity. 

"It has been a valuable lesson to our team. We take these issues very seriously.

"We have previously held five stars for our food hygiene certificate and we are confident that we will regain this rating at our pending reinspection date." 

It concluded: “The entire team at the cafe is very passionate about freshly prepared food and drinks made and served with the highest food hygiene practices.”

The head of the pest control company used said at the beginning of May he found evidence of German Cockroaches and started treatment straight away. 

He added he was 'satisfied' that the treatment carried out in May and June had 'completely eliminated all pest populations' as there has been no activity for the past three months based on his regular site visits.

The cafe's website stresses the cafe uses only organic food and local suppliers, stating: “At the Vaults and Garden we think local is best, that’s why our Oxfordshire partnerships are so important to us.

"For the last 15 years we have been working alongside local farmers and suppliers to source the best ingredients in order to create the tastiest dishes possible.

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“Not only does this make for delicious food but staying local also minimises our environmental impact as we don’t import our ingredients from overseas. “

It adds: “All our produce is organic meaning there are no harmful pesticides or fertilisers meaning our food not only tastes better but there is also less harm done to the environment.”

The cafe is rated 4.5 out of five stars on review website TripAdvisor, with customers praising the 'beautiful location' and 'friendly staff'.