Police have pointed the finger at McDonald's restaurants for loutishness and bad behaviour in a row over a planning application.

Officers in Croydon, south London, voiced fears that the community would suffer if the junk food giant built a two-storey drive-thru restaurant in the heart of the area.

McDonalds' planning application for a 2,800 sq metre diner attracted an objection from the police safer neighbourhood team, which said the restaurant could cause "nuisance and distress" to elderly residents.

A police spokesman told the Croydon Guardian: "Our Wallington South safer neighbourhoods team has written to the council's planning department to express our concerns that this could lead to an increase in antisocial behaviour.

"It's important we voice any concerns we have about the impact of certain planning applications.

Local residents have also voiced fears but McDonald's was refusing to back down.

The daughter of an elderly artist who lives in the area said the restaurant would shatter his peace.

Janie Andrews said: "Most of the people who this restaurant will have an impact on are pensioners. There are going to be deliveries from noisy trucks at 5am, and the smell coming out of there will be awful. Traffic around here is already bad, and this will make things even worse."

Cllr Jayne McCoy said: "It's just not right for the area and if the plans go ahead it will have a negative impact on residents and on businesses. "

A McDonald's spokesman said its security advisor was dealing with local opposition.