"Yeah this premises is an active shisha lounge."
Police raided an illegal pop-up shisha bar in Birmingham on February 6, 2021, and nearly £30,000 in fines were issued.
The shisha bar was located above a food shop on Stratford Road in Sparkbrook.
Officers out responding to lockdown breaches found 36 people crammed inside the venue.
Police said the floor had been converted into an open plan shisha lounge, with beer and soft drinks on offer, card games being played and football on TV.
It was a blatant breach of the social distancing measures designed to stop the spread of Covid-19.
They were each fined £800, which totalled £28,800.
The £800 fines were introduced to people who attend gatherings of more than 15 people.
Police bodycam footage showed the revellers inside while officers went round, issuing fines.
The officer is heard saying: “Yeah this premises is an active shisha lounge.
“We have approximately 30 people present. Smoking, drinking, watching TV, so we’re going to need units to come down to enforce regulations, please.”
Throughout February 6, police responded to 74 reported breaches of Covid-19 rules and issued 23 fines worth £200 each, as well as the 36 £800 fines.
On February 5, police discovered a group of people playing pool inside a salon on Lodge Road, Winson Green.
Nine people were fined £200. Bodycam footage showed one of the rulebreakers claiming that the group was part of the same group.
However, officers rejected the claim, saying:
“But you don’t live together, do you. There’s no mixing of households at all.
“It’s been on the TV for months now. We’re going to go around and take your details off you.”
It was one of 61 reported Covid-19 breaches that evening, with 36 £200 fines issued.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Payne said:
“Sadly some people are still not getting the message that we are in a pandemic which has killed thousands of people and continues to kill hundreds daily.
“Our officers are working long hours in really difficult circumstances to keep people safe, and blatant breaches such as these are really disheartening to see.
“Officers are having to go home to their families after breaking up large gatherings such as this, not knowing if they have contracted coronavirus while trying to protect others.
“We know that most people are sticking to the rules and we’re genuinely grateful for that.
“They are helping keeping themselves, their families, and the West Midlands as safe as possible.”