A SHISHA cafe has had thousands of pounds of equipment confiscated in the latest raid on smoking bars in Bolton.

The investigation into the cafe came as part of a joint inquiry by Bolton Council and the police over health and safety violations at the premises.

It follows a series of other raids against shisha bars, including two incidents in December when the owners of a pair of cafes were ordered to pay a total of £2,900 after customers were found smoking in substantially enclosed areas.

The latest raid occurred earlier this month, although a spokesman for the council said they cannot name the owners or give the location of the cafe as it is subject to an ongoing investigation.

The people behind the shisha bar are expected to appear in magistrates court in relation to the raid.

The council spokesman added: “This was a joint operation with Greater Manchester Police responding to reports of health and safety violations on the premises.

“Several items were confiscated, and the business is subject to an ongoing investigation.”

Last week, council environmental services chief Cllr Nick Peel, called for more powers to monitor such places ­— backing a recent plea by the Local Government Association to issue new licensing powers to tackle “lawless” shisha bars that flout smoking and fire safety laws.

The council say they conduct raids on such bars following joint investigations and information from the police and the fire service.

Executive cabinet member for environmental services, Cllr Nick Peel, said: “Around three weeks ago we raided a shisha bar and confiscated a few thousand pounds of equipment and there were concerns over the burner being used to heat the pipes.”

He added: “We periodically raid shisha bars with the police if we receive information.

“Currently we can can only use existing laws about smoking in an enclosed place. We have concerns about the safety of some premises such as the risk of carbon monoxide and under-18s being in premises because they are there for people to smoke shisha and it is against the law to sell tobacco to under-18s, so if they are smoking them an adult has bought it for them.

“We have no powers of closure. We can take away equipment and prosecute, but the owners can set up again.”

The councillor said that authorities do not recoup all of their costs in prosecuting those who flout the law.

In December, Zakaria Amenjee and Alla Al-Sabie were found guilty of breaching the Health Act 2006 after appearing in court.

The act prohibits smoking in an area which has a roof or ceiling, unless at least half the wall space is open.

Council enforcement officers discovered smoke upon entering Hookah Pani Shisha Café in St Helens Road. Amenjee was fined £500 and ordered to pay £600 in court costs along with a £50 victim surcharge.

An inspection of Taboosh in Bank Street revealed a dozen customers smoking shisha while a range of hot food and drink was being served in a bar area. Business owner Alla Al-Sabie was fined £750 and must also pay £925 in costs and a £75 surcharge.

The LGA said prosecutions were taking up to a year and bar owners were increasingly undeterred by one-off fines of up to £2,500.