Police have defended a controversial raid on businesses in Tooting Market, but also emphasised the importance of maintaining trust between officers and the community.

It came following a raid which took place last Saturday (Sept 5), at Tooting Market, based on information that drugs were being sold at two stalls.

The action courted controversy as one of the businesses apparently targeted in the raid, a Jamaican-owned business called The Lone Fisherman, was later served an eviction by its landlord in the wake of the raid, despite a petition set up to save the business stating that nothing was found by officers at the stall.

A spokesperson for the Met said:  

“On Saturday, 5 September officers from the South West Command Unit executed search warrants under section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act on two stalls at Tooting Market, SW17.

“This followed information received that drugs were being sold at the venues. A warrant was applied for and granted at a magistrates’ court.

“A quantity of cannabis was found at one of the stalls and a man was arrested on suspicion of possession of intent to supply class B drugs; he has since been released under investigation.
“At a subsequent search of a residential property, a quantity of cash was found – this has been seized as part of the investigation.
“In relation to the second stall, no drugs were found and no further action will be taken by police. The stallholder was not arrested.”

The names of the stalls targeted were not disclosed.

Superintendent Roger Arditti, from the South West Command Unit, added:

“Successful neighbourhood policing relies on trust between our officers and the community they serve; this is something we continually strive to maintain. In this instance we received concerns that drugs were being sold at a stall in the market.”

The online petition (link to last article) to save The Lone Fisherman has already gathered over 11,403 signatures, while in-person protests have taken place at the market.  

Tooting Town Police also appeared to issue an apology on Twitter, referring to one of their earlier tweets which described a “successful” raid on the Market , in which they acknowledged they may have sounded “insensitive to some members of the community.”