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Shisha café fined for breaching smokefree regulations

Published on Thursday, February 20, 2020

Judge's hammer

A COMPANY and director behind a city centre shisha café have been fined £6,000 and ordered to pay over £2,000 in costs after being convicted of a series of smoke-free offences.

Environmental Health officers from Leicester City Council made a number of visits to the Emperors Lounge shisha café, in Churchgate, in April and December 2019, as part of work to check its compliance with smokefree regulations.

Premises legally have to be more than 50 percent open to the air for smoking to be permitted, and although inspectors found the premises to fall short of that, they didn’t witness anyone smoking there on their initial visits.

Inspectors repeatedly asked the venue’s operators, Lions Café Ltd, for detailed plans and measurements of the premises, but none were provided.

During a return visit in July 2019, officers witnessed customers smoking at the venue which was still 85-90 percent enclosed, and they ordered Lions Café Ltd’s director, Syed Ijaz, to cease the activity immediately.

Despite this, Environmental Health Officers witnessed further breaches in September and December 2019 and the city council has now proceeded to prosecute.

This week, the firm’s sole director Ijaz, aged 26, of Burnham Road, Birmingham, was convicted of three charges of allowing Lions Café Ltd to fail in its duty to prevent smoking at the premises. Leicester magistrates also convicted Lions Café Ltd of three charges of failing in its duty to prevent smoking at the premises.

Neither Lion Café Ltd nor Ijaz attended the court hearing on Wednesday, February 19.

Leicester magistrates fined the business and Ijaz a total of £6,000 (£1,000 for each of the offences), and ordered Ijaz to pay prosecution costs of £2,297. He was also ordered to pay victim surcharges totalling £200.

Leicester City Council’s head of regulatory services, Nicola Preston, said: “Smoke-free legislation is designed to protect the public and employees from the inhalation of second-hand smoke, which is known to cause serious health issues, including forms of cancer.

“Despite repeated efforts by council officers to get them to abide by the laws around smoking legislation, the warnings were completely ignored by this business. The director was even observed smoking on the premises during a visit.

“This case will show to all shisha café owners in Leicester that they must operate within the law and their premises will be visited regularly. If they don’t comply then they can expect robust and appropriate enforcement action to protect employees and customers alike.”

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