THE owner of a Blackburn shisha cafe has been fined for allowing smoking to take place inside the premises.

Mustaffa Sidik, 40, who ran the cafe in Harrison Street pleaded guilty to the offences but did not appear at Blackburn Magistrates Court for the hearing yesterday.

In a statement read to the court he said he had only been in charge of the business for around three weeks, and was not fully aware of the law.

He added that he had been asked by many customers to allow smoking inside but had refused.

The court heard the level of smoke inside the premises had been found to be such that carbon monoxide levels were a cause for concern, and steps had to be taken to vacate the building.

Unemployed Mr Sidik was ordered to pay a fine of £200, as well as £50 costs, and a victim surcharge of £20.

Blackburn council has promised to take tougher action to crack down on shisha cafes. The council wants the government to introduce licensing for cafes, to work alongside existing laws around smoking indoors.

A council spokesman said: “The only thing the council can regulate them with at the moment is smoke-free legislation.

“What we are calling for is for these places to be licensed and for the government to give us more power.”