‘Fictional’ late-night auction at Hainault shisha bar stalled

A suspicious “mock” request to hold five days of late-night parties at a Hainaut shisha bar has been rejected by Redbridge’s licensing subcommittee.

Committee advisers were so concerned about the proposed events at a Fowler Road venue, Hainault Business Park, that they issued a rare counter-notice banning the event from taking place.

A police licensing officer told the committee he had “no confidence” in the person requesting a temporary event notice, which would allow the salon to sell alcohol and food until at 11 p.m. between Thursday and Monday of this week (August 4-8).

Licensing officer met PC Matt Brown told the committee he suspected candidate Kolade Folarin, 38, of making the request on behalf of former owner and current tenant Mujahid Ali, 40, who previously organized illegal raves on the site.

PC Brown said: ‘I know they said no later than 11pm but I don’t trust that for a minute…I think the tenant is still in control and I have no idea who the new candidate is. – he’s not here today either.

“We believe this event will continue past eleven o’clock, we have no idea what level of security will be involved and who will dump these customers.

“The main reason for this objection is based on the venue’s previous history and our lack of confidence in the candidate as a manager.

“The man who we believe is still the current tenant has flagrantly broken the law in the past with respect to Health Act legislation by using a shisha and then [raves/unlicensed music events] which lead the local police to compile a file [for a closure notice].”

Mujahid Ali ran a shisha bar called Level on the site, but was found guilty of breaching smoking regulations on the site in 2018, following a Redbridge Council prosecution.

PC Brown added that shortly after being stabbed at the scene in July 2020, Ali applied for a restaurant license.

The officer visited and suspected that Level was being used for illegal parties as it had coffee tables, amplified speakers and turntables for “disco type music”.

Until May this year it hosted several illegal raves, including one during lockdown, giving neighbors ‘endless trouble’ over the noise of custom cars and the use of laughing gas when ravers leave early the morning.

Ali told police he had a 15-year lease on the site, which was the site of another serious violent crime in January this year.

The committee’s decision, posted online, noted PC Brown’s concerns about disorder and criminality, Ali’s previous ‘law-breaking’ raves, lack of information about Folarin and the risk that the app could be a “sham”.

It concluded: “The sub-committee therefore issues a counter-opinion to this request prohibiting this event from taking place.”

At the same location, Folarin has also applied for a permanent license to have a West African bar, Elegant BanKola Lounge, which may be subject to a future licensing hearing.

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