Birmingham shisha bar closed after selling ‘alcohol and laughing gas to children’
A Birmingham shisha bar that allegedly sold alcohol and laughing gas to hundreds of children has been permanently closed.
Cloud Nine Dessert and Shisha Lounge in Birmingham’s Southside had already been subject to a 90-day closure order after police incidents in April last year, but following allegations of alcohol being sold to children as young as nine, the council revoked the venue’s licence in the interest of preventing crime and disorder, maintaining public safety and safeguarding children.
Duncan Craig, barrister for Cloud Nine boss Mohammed Malik, challenged evidence alcohol had been sold to children, arguing it was more likely they had brought it in themselves. He also argued that Mr Malik – who denied the allegations – had not been present during most of the incidents raised by police, stating his client had been “let down” by third parties hiring the venue.
Despite the claims and challenges, Birmingham city council revoked the licence for Cloud Nine, located in Gooch Street North.
Allegations against the establishment included the sale of alcohol to children, as well as the sale of psychoactive substance nitrous oxide, nicknamed ‘laughing gas’.
Concerns about fire safety and breaches of the recommended capacity were also raised, which led to West Midlands Police initially applying to the council to revoke the shisha club’s licence.
Police claimed they had witnessed children being sold the items but said they were reluctant to give formal statements to officers. They also claimed some of the parties at the venue involved up to 300 people, despite a fire risk assessment limiting numbers to 55.
However, barrister Mr Craig argued the actual number was a lot higher as there was more than one fire exit. The venue has now been closed.