Market stallholders have lost their battle with a big London insurance company to prevent them being ejected from places they have occupied for decades.

The stalls have shifted across High Street from sites outside Rackhams, following the three-and-a-half year long campaign and legal fees totting up to £120,000.

Royal London Mutual Insurance, which owns the site, took action against the six for trespass and claimed they had failed to pay their rent , despite evidence that Rackhams had ceased to ask for payment in 2000.

In April, a judge in the High Court found partially for the stallholders and ruled that Royal London could only seek rental from when the company acquired "assumed rights" about a year ago.

Russell Marsden, who has been one of the leading opponents to the move, is now trading his flower and plant stall from outside Wild's bakery.

Further down, Jack Hussain, who had been selling fruit and vegetables outside Rackhams for 30 years is trading from outside Dorothy Perkins. Other traders who have moved are stalls selling, china, cheese, socks and confectionary.

Mr Marsden, who is facing a £27,000 demand, said: "I believe the insurance company has acted as bully boys all along. I don't think they expected us to stand up to them for so long.

"The positive thing is that we are still here and people in Skipton can still shop with us - and we've not taken over anybody else's plots."

But Jack Hussain, who has worked outside Rackhams since a young man, and who may have to pay £46,000 in back rent, said he was very sad to leave.

"I was there 30 years. That's a long time and the move has come as a bombshell.

"What makes me mad is that someone in London is making these decisions with no concern how it hits us.

"And what make it ridiculous is that the place where we were has now got parked cars on it bringing in absolutely no revenue. It doesn't make sense."

A spokeswoman for Royal London said: "We have established legal ownership of the land including the section of The Setts outside House of Fraser and the stallholders were ordered by the court to pay for their pitches – which they have refused to do.

"Therefore, we had no other option than to start legal proceedings to keep them off the pitches and to recover back rent.

" Currently the pitches are empty but we will shortly enter into negotiations with new stallholders to occupy the vacant pitches."