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Shisha cafe owner convicted for third time for breaching smoking ban

Islington Council has prosecuted the owner of a shisha café which has breached the smoking ban for a third time.

Brawen Mengesha, 28, of Wakefield Road, N15, is owner and manager of Gifa Café at 191 Seven Sisters Road, which supplies customers with ‘hookah’ waterpipes filled with shisha tobacco.

On 7 June 2015, Trading Standards Officers from the council’s Public Protection team inspected the business and found evidence of three offences:

  • three customers were smoking shisha in a totally enclosed downstairs room, which should have been ‘smokefree’
  • no health warnings were placed on the waterpipes - they should carry similar warnings to cigarettes if a tobacco product is being smoked
  • no notice advising that persons under 18 will not be sold tobacco products was displayed

Mr Mengesha was not on the premises at the time of the inspection, but could not show any evidence of reasonable precautions to prevent the offences being committed.

At Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on 11 February Mr Mengesha pleaded guilty to three offences (for full details see notes to editors). He was fined a total of £500, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £25 and Council costs of £540. 

In June 2012 Mr Mengesha pleaded guilty to allowing smoking in a smokefree premises, and in February 2014 he was convicted of three separate offences of the same nature.  On the latter occasion, he was fined £1,050 and required to pay costs and victim surcharge totalling £2,311.20.

Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council's executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “The defendant has persistently ignored council advice and allowed smoking in enclosed spaces contrary to the smokefree laws. 

If businesses illegally endanger the health of staff and customers, they are liable to prosecution, and repeat offences may lead to repeat convictions”.

Businesses who want advice on complying with smokefree legislation should go to or contact the council on 020 7527 3816.

Notes to editors

 Mr Mengesha pleaded guilty to the following offences: 

  • Health Act 2006, section 8 (4): allowing smoking in a smokefree premises.  £250 fine
  • Consumer Protection Act 1987, s 12(1): breach of the Tobacco Products (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale) (Safety) Regulations 2002 (as amended) by failing to display health warning on a retail tobacco container.  £250 fine.
  • Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991 (as amended), s 4 (4).  No separate penalty.