Scientists have found trace amounts of 'faecal matter' on a number of tables at several Costa Coffee branches across the country - according to an investigation by Channel 4.

Here's everything you need to know.

How many places did the scientists test?

A team of scientists was sent across the UK for Channel 4's 'Dispatches' programme, to test more than 170 surfaces throughout six towns and cities.

The aim of the TV investigation was to find out how clean big brands are keeping their stores in light of the pandemic.

After wiping a number of surfaces down in several Costa Coffee branches, scientists sent the samples off to be analysed, and found that samples from the Cardiff and Birmingham branches contained 'faecal coliforms'.

Swabs were taken from tables, chairs, side plates, trays and toilet door handles inside Costa branches.

An Edinburgh branch of the coffee chain showed high levels of bacteria on surfaces which were supposed to be clean, though these were not thought to be faecal matter.

The investigation was part of Channel 4’s 'Dispatches: How Safe Is It Going Out?', which aired on Monday night (October 26).

What have Costa Coffee said following the Channel 4 investigation?

A spokesperson for Costa Coffee said: “The safety of our store teams and customers is our number one priority and we were pleased to learn that no evidence of coronavirus, or indeed any other viruses, was found in any of our stores.

“In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we have enhanced our hygiene measures in line with Government guidelines and are confident we have the right policies and procedures in place to keep customers safe.

“We have re-communicated our cleaning procedures to all our stores and spoken directly to those stores featured in this programme.”

What else did the scientists find?

Despite government guidance to regularly clean surfaces in public settings in order to limit the indirect transmission of Covid-19, the investigation found that many public surfaces were far from clean.

Scientists also took samples from the bell, handrail and seats of London buses, as well as the trolley handles in six different branches of Tesco.

The results suggested an inconsistent cleaning policy, with different trolleys in the same car park showing very different levels of cleanliness.

How to watch the show

If you missed it, the programme is available here on Channel 4's streaming service, All4.