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First for Manchester after problem shisha cafe closed

Suede Shisha cafe, in Rusholme.

A shisha cafe in Rusholme which routinely breached the Health Act and where Manchester City Council staff were routinely threatened has been forced to close.

A three month Premises Closure Order was issued against Suede Shisha cafe, in Wilmslow Road, following a hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Friday June 7.

This successful prosecution was the culmination of months of investigative work and enforcement action by Manchester City Council’s Licensing and Out of Hours Team (LOOH), as well as its partners in Greater Manchester Police, and the Anti-social Behaviour Action Team (ASBAT).

This was a significant case for Manchester City Council as it marks the first time a shisha bar, linked to anti-social behaviour has been closed by such an order.

Problems relating to the premises date back to March 2018.

As part of its role to enforce the Health Act 2006, which prohibits smoking indoors, the LOOH Team routinely visit shisha cafes to ensure they are complying with the act. On one such occasion (March 13) officers observed shisha being smoked indoors and proceeded to issue fixed penalty notices to members of the public.

During this process MCC staff were verbally abused with GMP officers being forced to intervene to ensure their safety.

On March 21 officers returned to Suede and once again found a number of people smoking indoors. As a result further fixed penalty notices were issued and the LOOH team seized all shisha pipes stored on the premises, 140 in total. Officers were once again subject to verbal abuse on this visit.

Shisha pipes inside Suede.

In spite of repeated warnings about the consequences of breaching the Health Act, non-compliance in relation to smoking shisha pipes continued unabated.

Verbal abuse and threats of violence towards MCC staff members has been a recurring theme surrounding the enforcement visits at this venue, along with criminal and anti-social behaviour.

In early November 2018 MCC officers had to be escorted from the venue by police due to hostility directed towards them. When in their vehicle, a glass item was thrown at them by a person associated with the premises.

Also in November police were forced to issue a dispersal notice under the anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act after a large scale fight broke outside at the venue.

As a result of these serious and repeated offences, a closure order was issued by MCC preventing Suede from opening from 7/6/19 until 6/9/19. No one will be allowed to enter the premises, apart from one named person.

If a premises closure order is breached, the person who breaches it could be subject to a prison sentence of up to 51 weeks and/or a fine.

A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: “The behaviour of the people associated with this venue is completely unacceptable. Despite repeated efforts by Council officers to get them to abide by the laws around smoking legislation, the warnings were completely ignored.

“The fact that the police had issued a dispersal order to control the anti-social  behaviour around the venue shows just how much of a negative impact the venue has had on the members of the public in the area. In addition to this, their hostile attitude towards council staff carrying out their day to day duties cannot be tolerated.

“The Health Act was put in place to protect members of the public and we as a council have a responsibility to uphold the law and prosecute the people who break it.

“This case was not a pleasant one but we want to reassure the public that if businesses completely ignore the Health Act and contribute to anti-social behaviour the council will take action, and take action swiftly.”

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