THEY are the familiar faces who sell anything from hotdogs to mobile phone covers to shoppers in Southampton city centre.

But from tomorrow they must be gone from outside WestQuay shopping centre – or face a fine of up to £1,000.

City council bosses have handed the street sellers notices that will force them to leave their pitches in Above Bar, where many have worked for years.

They were given just one week’s notice to leave after the council claimed it received complaints from shops worried about their effect on their business and members of the public.

The pedlars, who each pay £12.25 a year for their licences, have reacted furiously.

However, council chiefs say the increasing number of street sellers has become a problem in recent months to the extent that they could block emergency vehicles from getting into the road.

The problem has reached a crisis point with the opening of the annual German market, which stretches along the precinct.

Thomas Hull, 18, from, Ruby Road, Bitterne, Southampton, who sells mobile phone accessories, said: “I’m going to have to move to another city because of this.

“It’s tough to sell in other places and it’s shocking that they only gave us a week’s notice to move.”

Pedlar certificates are issued by the police and can be used to trade anywhere in the UK. Applicants must be aged over 17 and there is no restriction on the number of licences issued.

According to the city council, they allow a person to trade while on foot including selling door to door.

Pedlars are expected to move around approximately every 20 minutes, distinguishing them from street traders who have a fixed stall.

Cllr Asa Thorpe, Cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “While we had only a small number of pedlars in the precinct we did not take any action, but in recent months there has been increasing numbers and this has become a problem.”