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07:49 Friday 23 August 2013  Written by James Preston

Exotic cockroaches posted through letterbox of new tea shop

Diane Bryant and Magda Wencel
Diane Bryant and Magda Wencel

A horrified businesswoman has condemned a 'vicious' attack which saw live exotic cockroaches posted through the letterbox of a newly-opened teashop in Cookham.

Diane Bryant and her business partner Magda Wencel had to call in police after Diane opened the door to the Teapot tea shop in High Street to find about 50 of the bugs crawling around on the floor at about 8am on Thursday morning.

The bizarre attack was made more unusual when a pest control specialist who came to clear the mess told the pair he had never seen the species in more than 25 years' experience in the industry.

The cockroaches have been taken for tests, but it is believed they may be Madagascan hissing cockroaches - a large species not native to the UK.

The incident happened less than two weeks after the shop was opened as a new venture for Diane and Magda, who both have backgrounds in the care industry.

"It's a disgusting thing to do," said Diane. "It's vicious. We are a brand new tea shop. For someone to do this is just vile."

The shop was forced to close for the day but was open again by Friday, receiving a clean bill of health and the highest rating available from food safety inspectors who visited following the incident.

The pair were also left overwhelmed by the support of Cookham residents, who Diane said have been welcoming them with open arms since they opened and were quick to condemn the attacks.

"We have had an awful lot of lovely people who have been very supportive," said the 43-year-old, who lives in Holmer Green.

"Everybody has been knocking on the door and are absolutely shocked by what has happened."

Diane said she had 'no idea' who was behind the attack, but Thames Valley Police has confirmed it is appealing for witnesses as part of ongoing inquiries.

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