A rogue shisha cafe owner has been prosecuted after smokers were found indoors.

Mujahid Ali, of South Park Drive, Ilford owns The Level Shisha Lounge in Fowler Road, Hainault, and was ordered to pay £2,255 to Redbridge Borough Council after people were found flouting the law and smoking inside the premises.

Barkingside Magistrates’ Court heard the case after enforcement officers discovered breaches of anti-smoking legislation during surprise visits made to the cafe in September and October 2018.

A fine of £1,000, along with costs of £1,185 and a victim surcharge of £70, were handed out to Mr Ali, who was found guilty in his absence.

Shisha, or water pipes, are used to smoke mainly flavoured or non-flavoured tobacco or herbal mixtures.

Under the Health Act 2006, smoking tobacco or anything containing tobacco, or smoking any other substance, in enclosed or substantially enclosed premises, is illegal.

Cllr Bob Littlewood, cabinet member for crime, said: “This prosecution sends out a very clear message that operating an illegal shisha venue will not be tolerated and we will take tough action against any business breaking the law or breaching the regulations.

“There are very clear and strict rules in place to protect people from the dangers associated with smoking in public places – it was clear in this case that the owner of the lounge decided to ignore the legal requirements placed upon them.

“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 borough.”