Taxi drivers have vowed to break rules in protest at a controversial new rank.

They say they have been “stitched up” by a ban on picking up customers outside the front of Brighton Station and have decided to take matters into their own hands.

One cabbie, who did not wish to be named, said he was “making his own rank” in front of the station in protest.

He said: “It’s worth it. We’re being stitched up – and so are the public.

“I’ve been a driver in Brighton for 32 years and this has made life so much harder for everyone.

“I’ve asked the other drivers to join me out the front in protest, but so far they haven’t had the courage to do it. This is not on. The council have been issuing taxi licences like confetti while they’re reducing the area we can operate.”

Cabbies say that since they were moved to a new bay behind the station in November, they have seen a “30 per cent drop” in their earnings and have been left with no choice but to break the rules.

But Brighton and Hove City Council said it would issue strict punishments for those breaking by-laws, including stripping drivers of their licences and taking them to court, where they could face £500 fines.

But the drivers are defiant. Cabbie Cindy Tehrani, from Brighton, said she would not be renewing her £892.50 annual pass, which allows her to pick up at the station rank, until the issue is resolved.

She has been a cabbie in the city for 31 years. She said: “I drive a Hackney cab. I should be allowed to stop and pick up customers.

“On many occasions when I’m driving past the front of the station I’ve been flagged down by people asking where all the taxis are.

“The thing is, we’re providing a service. We’re doing the station and the council a favour but we’re having to pay for it.

“That’s why I’ve decided I won’t be renewing my station pass.”

Other drivers are simply ignoring the rule. The Argus has been sent pictures of taxis defying the ban, and when we visited the rank yesterday, several cabs were spotted disobeying the rules and picking up customers at the front of the station.

A council spokeswoman said: “Any driver of a Hackney carriage vehicle operating contrary to the by-laws may find themselves the subject of enforcement action.

“This may include the Hackney carriage driver’s licence being revoked, suspended or not renewed.

“The council may also take formal action through the courts where, if found guilty, a driver could be liable, to a fine of up to level 2 (currently £500). Drivers have already been advised of this.”

Govia Thameslink Railway has also been approached for comment.