Market stallholders have lost their battle with Boots over the rent of their plot on the High Street setts which they have run for the past six years.

A County Court judge, in Skipton, has found in favour of Boots despite a 5,000-name petition backing the Wilkinsons, who ran a plant stall.

Vincent Wilkinson and his wife Kath had stopped paying rent to Boots in 2007 after the national company failed to issue a licence.

But the fight was not over, said Mr Wilkinson who has written to Defra seeking clarification of the bylaws relating to the 800-year-old market.

He said: “There is no other market in England run in the same way – it’s unique.

“The National Market Traders Federation officer states there is no other where stall holders need permission of the frontagers – in all other cases the council provides the land that the market is on.”

During their campaign Mr and Mrs Wilkinson, who employ their daughter Laura, also discovered a number of anomalies in which not all shops on the High Street charged stallholders for the pitches.

Mrs Wilkinson said: “We wish to thank everyone for their support which has been overwhelming. It now continues on the Facebook page for Save Skipton Market of .SaveSkiptonMarket.”

Boots reported that it was supportive of the local community and had only considered legal action after many years of trying to come to an amicable solution with the Wilkinsons.