May 22 2013 Latest news:
Ben Bloom , Reporter
Monday, May 28, 2012
For the second time in less than a year an Edgware Road shisha café has been found guilty of allowing people to illegally smoke in the basement.
Licensing officers from Westminster Council said they were initially denied entry into Palms Palace when they visited at 3.15am earlier this year.
When they finally gained access into the locked basement they did not witness smoking but found evidence including burning coals and hot shisha pipe heads.
Both Palms Palace Ltd and its manager Ismail Siza were charged with failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free premises and found guilty at Westminster Magistrates Court on May 10.
The company will pay £2,000 in fines and costs, while Mr Siza was charged a total of £1,050.
The café was found guilty of the same offence last July when 34 people were allowed to smoke shisha pipes in the basement. On that occasion the company was made to pay £1,114.
Westminster Council licensing chairman Cllr Audrey Lewis said: “We are seeing a disturbing trend of shisha cafés which believe they can outwit the laws on health by holding the smoking equivalent of a lock-in.
“Shisha smoking is more harmful than normal cigarette use and by crowding people into a basement, café owners are playing fast and loose with their health.
“We have already seen customers smoking shisha indoors being rushed to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. The health of our residents is a key council priority and we will intervene with court action if necessary.”