OWNERS of late-night food vans in Oxford city centre hit back over claims their businesses 'encouraged street violence.'

One van owner said traders were being made scapegoats for late night outbreaks of violence in the city in May 1987.

City councillors had accused the vans of being scruffy and called for licences to be reviewed.

A shop keeper also claimed the vans encouraged young people to congregate at night, leading to trouble.

Mr P. Vadher, who operated a hot food van in Queen Street, said: "We've been on this patch since September and we've never had any bother.

"We're here to provide a service. The councillors are exaggerating the situation and anytime there's any trouble in the city centre, we are made the scapegoats."

Another van owner in High Street, Mr M. Boutayeb, said violence in the city happened long after he had finished trading at midnight.

He said: "If anything, the real problem is there aren't enough food vans.

People who have to queue up get frustrated and that's when the trouble starts."