Two more illegal shisha cafes hit by fines in council crackdown

Momtaz restaurant and shisha cafe. (Photo: Brent Council)

Momtaz restaurant and shisha cafe. (Photo: Brent Council) - Credit: Archant

The Ice Cafe, in Neasden Lane, and Momtaz, in Church Road, Willesden, are the latest in a string of illegally operating shisha bars to be prosecuted by Brent Council.

Tobacco packaged as Al Oud fragrance. (Photo: Brent Council)

Tobacco packaged as Al Oud fragrance. (Photo: Brent Council) - Credit: Archant

Following complaints from neighbours of the Ice Cafe regarding smoking and noise nuisance, Brent enforcement officers visited the premises last November and discovered that shisha and class-B drug khat were being smoked behind a shutter pulled down to make it look like the premises was closed.

The officers seized the drugs along with shisha tobacco which was found disguised in packaging labelled ‘Al Oud Fragrances’ from China in order to avoid paying duty.

Ice Cafe’s proprietor, Musse Mohammed, was ordered to pay a fine of £3,300 as well as £1,403 costs and a £120 surcharge at Willesden Magistrates Court last week.

Council officers also paid a visit to Momtaz where customers were found smoking shisha in a mainly enclosed structure at the rear of the premises.

Tobacco seized. (Photo: Brent Council)

Tobacco seized. (Photo: Brent Council) - Credit: Archant

Omran Nader, director of Diamond Hayes Limited Trading was ordered to pay £1,500 in fines, £1,258 costs and a £120 surcharge at the same court on the same day, April 4.

A total of 15 individuals and limited companies have now been prosecuted as part of the council’s clampdown so far this year resulting in almost £24,000 in fines and costs being awarded.

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Cllr Tom Miller, cabinet member for stronger communities, said: “We are prosecuting owners of illegal shisha businesses frequently and we’ll carry on doing it until the message gets through that we won’t tolerate the negative effect they have on local communities.

“We have called on government for more powers to deal with offenders and in the meantime are using the full extent of the law to prosecute those who commit crimes which allow anti-social and dangerous behaviour to take place.”