Shisha cafe crammed with 150 people shut down days after £10,000 COVID fine

Police shutdown Kasablanca in Birmingham last Saturday (Picture: Police)
Police shut down Kasablanca in Birmingham last Saturday (Picture: Police)

This is the moment police stormed into a shisha cafe and closed it down after finding 150 people crammed together inside.

Kasablanca in Birmingham was filled with patrons at around 1am last Saturday despite being hit with a £10,000 penalty for breaking COVID restrictions earlier this month, police said.

Video shows officers forcing entry to the smokers’ lounge in the Highgate area of the city, with shouts heard as they disperse the crowds.

West Midlands Police said: “A closure order has been issued to Kasablanca in Highgate, after we forced our way in to the venue at 1am on 24 October to find more than 150 people still inside.

“Video shows how people poured out of the venue when we broke open the doors after being refused entry.”

Watch: Moment police storm shisha bar in Birmingham

In the previous incident on 30 September, police body-cam footage showed workers at Kasablanca trying to close the shutters on officers as they arrived.

The nightspot also turned their music off and told customers to be quiet in a bid to avoid detection.

Once they had gained entry, officers found 250 people packed inside displaying "no regard to the current legislation".

An investigation was launched and last 9 October and its owner was served the £10,000 fine for facilitating the event and for flouting COVID-19 restrictions.

Police at the Kasablanca Shisha Lounge on 30 September (Picture: SWNS)
Police at the Kasablanca Shisha Lounge on 30 September (Picture: SWNS)

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.

Chief Superintendent Andy Beard added: “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.”

Boris Johnson is considering imposing stringent new national lockdown restrictions within days after scientists warned that half a million people were being infected with coronavirus each week.

The prime minister is expected to announce the measures for England – which could be introduced on Wednesday and last until December 1 – at a press conference on Monday, according to The Times.

Watch: What is long COVID?

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