A couple fighting to stay in the UK have failed in a last-ditch attempt to halt their deportation to Cameroon.

Bernard Batey was detained by UK Border Agency officers at his home in Kestrel Drive at 7.30am on Monday.

He is being held at Colnbrook immigration removal centre, in Middlesex, and is due to fly from Heathrow at 8pm on Saturday.

His wife, Lydia Besong was not at home and a notice of removal could not be presented, but supporters believe she is booked on the same flight.

The couple’s legal representatives were seeking an injunction to stop their removal but it was denied on Friday.

News that they were being deported came as a shock for Mr Batey and Mrs Besong who claim they had not been officially informed by the UK Border Agency.

Their lawyer had put forward fresh evidence in July as part of their fight for asylum and it was only after Mr Batey was detained that they were told it had been rejected on August 17.

A spokesman for the human rights organisation RAPAR said: “We are appalled by the actions of the UK Border Agency. They have known about this decision for almost a month, yet they only chose to disclose the information when pressed by Lydia and Bernard’s lawyer after Bernard had already been detained.

“When the UK Border Agency officers came to his house, Bernard had no idea why he was being detained. He is very worried about being sent back to Cameroon.”

Mr Batey and Mrs Besong claim they had to flee Cameroon in 2006 for their involvement with the SCNC, a pressure group which campaigns for independence for southern Cameroon. They say they were both imprisoned and tortured in Cameroon and Mrs Besong was raped by a prison guard.

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: “We have a proud tradition of providing asylum to those in genuine need of our protection. Every case is carefully considered on its individual merits and genuine refugees are allowed to stay.

“We would much rather that those who we and the courts have decided do not need protection left the UK voluntarily.”