THE owners of a shisha lounge in Bradford have been fined £2,500 for failing to prevent smoking from taking place inside their premises.
Police and environmental health officers raided Junoon Experience Ltd in Grattan Road on November 21 last year at 10.25pm after reports of smoke in an enclosed place.
The first floor premises was locked at the time of the raid, with access only allowed via a buzzer inside, which saw officers spend 30 seconds trying to open the door until they were let in.
Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court were told today that officers heard someone inside the lounge say 'They are here, quick, they are here' before they entered the premises.
Junoon Experience Ltd faced one charge of being a person who controlled, or was concerned in the management of smoke-free premises, failed to cause a person smoking there to stop smoking under the Health Act 2006.
Harjit Ryatt, prosecuting solicitor for Bradford Council, read out an account of the event from Abdullah Hans, of Bradford Council's environmental health department.
Mr Ryatt said: "The officers could smell shisha smoke. They confirmed the premises was fully enclosed, no smoking can take place."
Shahid Khan, director of Junoon, had told officers that all of the customers had exhaled the smoke from the shisha pipes while outside in a patio area on the first floor and had then come back into the enclosed premises.
But officers saw no evidence of any tables and chairs in an outside patio area when they subsequently investigated.
The court also heard a man and a woman were seen drawing smoke from a shisha pipe.
In addition to the fine, Junoon, which was not represented at the hearing, was also ordered to pay £653 costs and a £120 surcharge.
In addition to shisha smoking, the night-time venue also stages live entertainment and serves non-alcoholic drinks.
Officers invited representatives of Junoon, which is Arabic for 'crazy', to attend an interview on December 6 but they did not attend.
Shisha lounges, where flavoured tobacco is smoked through pipes, are not illegal, but they must comply with the smoking ban, meaning at least half of the building must be permanently open.
After the case, Councillor Val Slater, Bradford Council’s executive member with responsibility for environmental health, said: “Shisha lounges are subject to the same smoke-free regulations as any other business.
“If businesses flout the ban on smoking on their premises, they can expect to end up before the courts.
“It is essential to protect the public from the harmful effects of smoke and we will continue to work hard to enforce the legislation throughout the district".