Shisha cafe fined £10k for breaching Covid rules is shut down after cops find it filled with 150 people weeks later

POLICE have closed down a shisha cafe after storming inside to find around 150 people crammed together – just weeks after the venue was hit with a £10,000 fine for Covid breaches.

Kasablanca in Birmingham was filled at around 1am on Saturday, despite being hit with the hefty penalty for breaking restrictions earlier this month, said West Midlands Police.

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Video footage showed officers forcing entry to the smokers' lounge, with shrieks audible as they disperse the crowds.

But this is not the first time the venue has been overpacked – as it was slapped with a £10,000 fine earlier this month.

Cops gained entry to the shisha lounge in Birmingham just a few weeks ago, finding 250 people packed inside displaying "no regard to the current legislation".

An officer was heard in the footage telling the owner: "Shutting the shutters to turn the music off makes no difference, we've got it all on camera.

"Every person here should be wearing a mask. You are working behind here. You have a duty to ensure people in here are following the guidelines.

"People should not be in groups at the till. As soon as whoever controls the shutters have seen the police they've shut the shutters.

"I've then stood at that door and heard them turn the music down and tell everyone to be quiet. I can hear it through the door, I'm not stupid."

Birmingham and the wider West Midlands combined authority area has been widely mooted for a move to Tier 3 "very high alert" measures as soon as the end of next week, as infection rates continue to rise.


In a separate incident, the owner of a venue in Smethwick, West Midlands, has been fined £10,000 after hosting a wedding celebration for more than 70 people.

Chief Superintendent Andy Beard said: "It's unacceptable that these businesses continue to flout the law, putting lives at risk and increasing the risk of infections as this deadly virus continues to spread.

"This is a difficult time for everyone, but we won't be able to control this pandemic and return to a sense of normality if this continues to happen.

"We all need to help stop the spread of coronavirus, and no-one is above the law when it comes to that."

Closed-down venues have their orders reviewed every week by the local authority and owners must prove they are complying with the law before reopening, the force said.  

Meanwhile, the UK is on the brink of passing 1,000,000 coronavirus cases as the country nears a grim milestone.

Positive cases rose by 24,405 today, taking the total to 989,745 – with the increase tomorrow expected to tip infections from the entire pandemic over 1million.

This comes as Government scientists warned that a national lockdown for at least a month is the only way to save Christmas.

Sage scientists have called for the UK to follow in the footsteps of France and Germany by enforcing a second country-wide shutdown.

They say tighter restrictions are needed for "at least a month" to save the NHS as the three-tiered system fails to drive Covid infections and deaths down.

Sage has advised that it is not too late for the Government to step in and save Christmas.

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