Illegal car windscreen washers have been accused of intimidating people and using drugs outside a Rotorua shopping centre - and one businesswoman there says they're "killing" her business.

Shop owners at Westend Shopping Centre say three washers have been hanging around at the shopping centre, getting in the way of traffic, being rude to people in their cars, demanding money, smoking drugs and harassing passing school children.

"They scare all my customers away," said a shop owner, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.

She and other shop owners spoken to by The Daily Post are pleased Rotorua police have now caught two in the act and say they don't want the men hanging around the shopping centre any more.

Senior Sergeant Ed Van Den Broek of the Rotorua police said two windscreen washers were summonsed this week to appear in Rotorua District Court later this month for a breach of the Rotorua District Council's traffic bylaw.

The bylaw prohibits people from washing vehicle windscreens at intersections and those who breach it can be fined up to $20,000. The ban was introduced several years ago to include the prohibition of windscreen washers at intersections at the request of Rotorua police.

Mr Van Den Broek said the men at Westend had been washing windscreens of cars and getting in the way of through traffic. They were also being rude to people in their vehicles, demanding money. Police had also received reports that when the men were not washing windows, they were smoking drugs and harassing school children.

Police were initially alerted a few weeks ago about the men, Mr Van Den Broek said.

It was found the men had not been receiving any income and police tried to steer them in the right direction to apply for benefits. However, they didn't follow through, instead continuing to wash car windows.

Despite two washers being summonsed to appear in court, two washers were at the intersection again yesterday, trying to wash windows for money. Community Constable Carl Redaelli took them to Work and Income to try and sort out their benefits.

Shop owners claimed one of the men had been sniffing glue in a carpark out the back of the shops.

A shop owner, who wished to be known only as Lisa, said the window washers were intimidating drivers and tapping on truck windows at the Old Taupo Rd and Malfroy Rd intersection. "They are a real hassle."

She was so annoyed she wrote to the council and police earlier this year, getting eight other businesses in the area to also sign the letter. She was pleased two of the men had been summonsed to appear in court.

Gary Treloar, owner of BrewTime, said customers complained to him about the washers, who are believed to be in their 20s or 30s. "They rush up and wash their windows when they don't want them to."

He questioned why it had taken police so long to summons the men as they had been there for a long time. "They always wander up and down. One of them sits in the rack of clothes [outside Coinsave on Malfroy Rd]. They make the place look bad and they downgrade the area. We are not a third-world country but these are third-world practices." Mr Van Den Broek said he wasn't aware a letter had been sent but admitted it was possible as he had been away earlier in the year.

"I haven't really had it brought to my attention apart from in the past month. The reason we haven't done anything until now is we didn't want to come down heavy-handed until we had a chance to help them sort out their [Work and Income] applications."

However, when the men had returned yesterday, police returned to move them on. Mr Van Den Broek said police had lost patience with them.