A TEENAGE girl has been refused permission to stay in the country and is facing deportation.

Candice Chesher, 18, moved to Ripon, North Yorkshire, in 2003 with her mother, stepfather and younger brother.

The family hoped to start a new life in Britain after losing everything in South Africa, but now faces being separated.

Martin Chesher, Candice's stepfather, holds a British passport, his wife Karen has an Irish passport and their 16-year-old son Alex also holds a British passport.

But Candice, who is Karen's daughter by a previous relationship, has a South African passport and the Home Office insists she must return to the country.

The teenager said the stress of possible deportation means she is losing sleep and not eating properly.

She said: "My worst fear is that I end up living on the street in a cardboard box in South Africa."

Mrs Chesher, 38, told how the family lost everything in South Africa when the firm they worked for went out of business. She said: "We've made a new life here now.

"We couldn't send her back on her own and so either myself or my husband would have to go with her - this would tear the family apart."

Mr Chesher, 43, said: "They can come and try to drag her away but we will fight.

"I'm a British citizen and my family should be here with me."

The family applied for Candice to stay last year, but their application was turned down.

They appealed and won, but the Home Office launched its own appeal and the original ruling was upheld.

Candice will be deported unless the family is able to appeal again.

The Home Office said it did not comment on individual cases.