A cafe owner planning to turn his business into a micro-pub is being investigated for drug dealing.

Fatos Tobli, current owner of Wood Street Cafe, at 53 Wood Street, is under investigation for possession of drugs with intent to supply after an arrest on March 28 last year.

Police have asked Waltham Forest Council not to grant the cafe an alcohol and late-night licence.

Police Constable Darren Brand wrote to the council's licensing services explaining officers feared his connection to the business would “seriously undermine” crime prevention efforts.

Mr Tobli insists he is innocent of the drug charge and plans to plead his case before the licensing committee on February 10.

PC Brand wrote: “The venue is situated in the epicentre of a well-known gang territory.

“Wood Street has been the focus of several police operations and joint working with regards to gang injunctions.

“The Mali Boys, who have been mentioned in local and national press, have a foothold on the Marlow Road estate minutes from the venue.”

Mr Tobli was originally intended to appear before the licensing committee in January but the meeting was adjourned so he could find legal representation.

His legal representation Fabien Simms wrote to the council to explain his client “took on board” the comments from police and his “insight into the high criminality” in the area.

Mr Simms said: “Mr Tobli has maintained his innocence in relation to all the charges put to him at the time of his arrest and release from Stoke Newington police station.”

He added PC Brand’s refusal to support any part of the application, which includes licences to stay open late and provide late-night refreshment, was “a very extreme and crippling stance to impose on the potential licence holder”.

Mr Tobli has also submitted a “draft customer dispersal policy” explaining how his business would keep noise down at the end of the night.