Immigration arrests made at Rusholme shisha café as police tackle indoor smoking
- Immigration officers arrest three employees at Rusholme shisha cafe
- Council and police crack down on indoor smoking
Three people have been arrested by immigration officials at a shisha café as police tackle the issue of indoor smoking.
The arrests were made at the Al Qaza café on Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, as part of an operation run by immigration officials, Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council. Two more individuals were removed from the premises by the officers.
The operation came as the police and council try to crack down on indoor smoking to protect public health. Al Qaza was one of two shisha cafes visited to make sure they were complying with the law.
Indoor smoking has been banned across the whole of the UK since 2007 as a consequence of the Health Act 2006.
On entering Al Qaza police found the café to be extremely busy and many customers were smoking shisha indoors.
Customers were warned by officers to stop smoking, but three patrons ignored the warnings and were issued on the spot fines. The three staff members were then arrested by the immigration officers.
Al Qaza faces fines of up to £60,000 if immigration officials decide to prosecute. Officers also seized 51 shisha pipes as evidence.
On the same night officers also visited the Blue Café on the Fallowfield end of Wilmslow Road.
No arrests were made at the second site, but three more customers were issued penalties for smoking indoors and the café's manager was issued with a warning and will be interviewed by police in the coming weeks.
Neighbourhoods councillor Rabnawaz Akbar said: “I hope this sends a clear message to those who break the law and continue to allow smoking to take place indoors.”
The actions by officers come just a week after Manchester City Council took a campaign to parliament to raise awareness about the risks of smoking shisha.
The visit to the House of Commons was part of a wider shisha education initiative including a leaflet campaign in Rusholme that the council has been pushing for some months now.
A press release issued by MCC in November stated that the campaign tries to educate both customers and café owners on the dangers of indoor smoking and to reinforce the fact that shisha smoking is not safer than smoking normal cigarettes.
“In fact smoking shisha for one hour is as damaging to a person's health as smoking 100 cigarettes. Tobacco smoke is also harmful to people exposed to second hand smoke.”