Traders fear minicab drivers who regularly block the free spaces outside their shops will sound the death-knell for their businesses.

Shopkeepers in Bittacy Hill, Hill Mill, are now calling for urgent action as they claim the spaces are often obstructed by Bittacy Cars drivers as they wait to pick up fares.

Although the area has a 90-minute parking restriction, the minicab drivers do not pay the required charge.

Sarah Cohen, who owns Kosher Cuisine, said: “It’s going to spell the end for our shop. It’s a nightmare, and customers aren’t going to park miles away just to pop in for a few moments.

“The drivers also don’t seem to understand this is destroying our business.”

As the white parking bays on the shopping parade have faded, wardens have told the traders they too are left confused by the rules, so are reluctant to issue the minicab drivers with tickets.

They stopped issuing fines when the lines began fading over a year ago - and since then, many shops have seen trade fall by up to 50 per cent a week.

The 58-year-old added: “I am livid about this. It seems unacceptable the council can’t enforce their own regulations over something so stupid. I was shocked when the warden told me that.

“We’ve been on at the council to repaint the lines but we’re getting nowhere.”

Earlier this month, the Times Series ran a piece about faded yellow lines in Western Parade, New Barnet, which had the opposite problem: with wardens were ticketing drivers despite the unclear rules.

But although Barnet Borough Council has since promised to repaint all unclear parking lines in the borough, Bittacy Hill was not on the list.

Erdal Bikim, manager at The Best Pizza and Kebab, said: “We’re losing over £600 a week at the moment but it gets worse all the time. It’s crazy, unfair and ridiculous.”

Roy Stewart, owner of A&D High Class Fruiter, suggests an American-style parking system could be adopted, for cars to park in diagonal bays.

Others suggested a designated taxi ramp further along down the road, or at nearby Mill Hill East tube station.

Ali, who owns Bittacy Cars minicab firm, said he sympathised with the traders.

He added: “I know it’s bad, I agree with the traders. We’ve told our drivers they can’t wait around here, and that if I catch them doing it, they will be moved.

“There’s usually only a couple at time now.”

Shopkeepers have also blamed parking restrictions during match days at Allianz Park Rugby Club for the decline in trade, as motorists are banned from parking in the Mill Hill area.

David Salmon, who owns Bittacy Cyles, said: “We’re nowhere near Saracens so it is incredibly frustrating, because we have no customers on event days.

“It’s outrageous. They need to do something.”

Around five years ago, parking in the area was free until 4pm, but the traders petitioned the council to install a pay and display system.

But Ian Needleman, owner of Property Express, said: “I’ve got nothing against the minicabs, but I do think we should have free parking.

“It would boost trade more. People could stop off without fear of getting a ticket.”

A statement from Barnet Council said: “We have not received complaints about the road markings from traders in Bittacy Hill. We do our best to make parking signs and lines as clear as possible across the borough, and will investigate concerns if this is lacking when brought to our attention.

“We do enforce these parking bays and will issue a PCN if we find motorists have parked without paying.”