A Shisha cafe in Sheffield has had its licence revoked after generating a debt of nearly £60,000 in electricity bills.
At a Licencing Committee meeting this morning, Dubai Cafe was accused of creating a fire safety hazard by allowing customers to smoke cigarettes in the premises and failing to ensure gas and electricity connections were safe.
Owner, Mr R Mustafa, has reportedly not paid any electricity bills since March 2012.
British Gas visited on several occasions but were allegedly met with hostility by members of staff. They believed the establishment, on London Road, had tampered with its meter as it read as zero, despite the cafe owing between £57,000-£59,000 in bills.
The gas company eventually cut the electricity, sending the site into darkness.
During the meeting, a South Yorkshire Police spokesperson said it had been discovered that the cafe was stealing electricity from an adjoining Ladbrokes store via a cable at the back of the building.
The spokesperson added that staff at the betting shop branch said they were unaware of the situation and had been trying to be helpful neighbours when Mr Mustafa said the connection was to keep a small ice cream machine working.
She added that British Gas had chosen not to take legal action against Dubai Cafe to reclaim the money owed. However, Sheffield councillor Mick Rooney expressed his concern about the situation.
He said: “If that were known by the general public and action wasn’t taken against them, the general public would be completely disgusted by that.”
As well as stolen electricity, the cafe was accused of allowing smoking inside the premises, failing to adequately ensure children do not enter and not providing the required safety measures over gas and electricity connections.
The application for the review, submitted by the council’s environmental regulation department, said: “Dubai Cafe is a premises that is illegally operating as a shisha bar and blatantly flouting the Health Act 2016, which makes it illegal to smoke indoors in public places.
“The operators have been prosecuted on three occasions, in 2013, 2014 and 2017, for allowing smoking to take place indoors.”
Candy Town, a Chinese restaurant which resides above the ‘Dubai Café, also came under fire during the meeting. The eatery’s owners are the landlords of the entire premises and councillors believe they were aware of the dangerous fire safety conditions.
Councillor Mike Rooney said: “We need to turn the heat up on the landlords.”
At the licensing review this morning, a man claiming to be Mr Mustafa showed up an hour late alleging that he had not received notice of the meeting and had “heard it on the news.”