AN illegal shisha bar has been permanently closed after a police raid.

Police, sniffer dogs and staff from the council’s public protection unit stormed Velvet shisha lounge, in Blackburn, after obtaining a warrant.

Around 30 people inside were spoken to by police, who were following up information about the alleged storage and supply of cannabis at the Weir Street cafe.

Two girls, aged 13 and 15, had to be taken to a ‘designated place of safety’ after the early morning raid.

Police forced their way into the property, located above Floors N Doors, and discovered an illegal shisha den in full operation.

It was operating illegally by allowing customers to smoke in an enclosed public area, police said.

A concerned dad, who said he had previously visited the shisha bar to collect his 14-year-old daughter, said he was shocked children had been smoking there.

He said: “Parents in Blackburn are having a problem with shisha cafes.

“Over the last few months, I have been running from one shisha bar to other to find my daughter. She is 14 and always coming home late.

“My daughter left me with no choice. I knew she was visiting Velvet and I had to go and drag her out.”

Despite detailed searches no drugs were found inside the premises.

However, a small amount of cannabis was found in a vehicle linked to the business, police said.

Around 30 cartons of shisha tobacco and 38 shisha burners were seized and the owners now face prosecution.

The shisha lounge was running on the top floor of a three-storey building above an empty floor.

The building, known as the Old Corn Mill, was also a former base for uniform manufacturer Makbro.

Macky Shaikh, 46, the owner of Floors N Doors, said he had been left shocked by the raid that even saw officers enter his shop.

He said: “I had no idea what was going on upstairs.

“I occasionally saw people coming and going but they didn’t affect my business so I left them to it.

“I am shocked police raided the premises.

“I got a call from a colleague shortly after midnight saying the police were in the building and they wanted to gain access to the shop.

“They caused a right mess in my shop removing ceiling panels so they could see into the floor above.”

Shisha bars are not breaking the smoking ban if 50 per cent of their exterior wall space is open.

A Lancashire police spokesman said: “A warrant was executed at the Velvet shisha lounge in Weir Street, Blackburn on Friday evening.

“Although it was not necessary to make arrests at the premises the operators are to be prosecuted for offences under the Health Act.”

Earlier this year the council announced a crackdown on illegal shisha bars.

Coun Hussain Faryad, executive member for environment, said: “We supported the police on the operation and we are looking at issues including smoking indoors, under age sale of tobacco and alcohol.

“Shisha cafes are a great concern to the council because of the involvement of underage children and the health risks they pose.”