Stoly Jankovic: Popular shop worker given two weeks to challenge deportation as 20,000 signature petition handed in

Patrick Grafton-Green
Stojan Jankovic faces being deported after 26 years in the UK

A popular north London shop worker has two weeks to challenge his deportation from the UK following an intervention by the shadow Brexit secretary.

Stojan Jankovic, known as Stoly, has lived in the UK for 26 years, but was taken into custody by immigration officers “without warning” on Thursday – a day after Theresa May triggered Article 50.

He was told he could be forced to leave the country by Tuesday, however his local MP Keir Starmer has announced Mr Jankovic will be given a 14-day stay of action.

The 52-year-old, who works at Earth Natural Foods in Kentish Town Road, remains in a detention centre in Dorset.

Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer said: “I am pleased to report that, after discussions with Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill’s private office, it has been agreed that no removal direction in the Stoly Jankovic case will be set until 14 days from today.

“That provides time for proper representations to be made and legal advice to be given.”

It comes as a petition, launched on Saturday and signed by over 20,000 people in just 48 hours, was handed to the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, at lunchtime on Monday.

Sue Odell, one of the organisers, described Jankovic as “the loveliest man you could hope to meet.”

She said: “He’s the heart and soul of the shop. He knows all the regulars by name.

“He’s incredibly kind, helping less able-bodied customers with their shopping, taking new colleagues under his wing, always thoughtful and entertaining with the kids.

“The massive response to our petition says it all: how greatly he is loved and valued by his customers, and how fortunate we are to have him.”

The campaign to stop the deportation of Mr Jankovic has been backed by Channel 4 news anchor Jon Snow, Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker and former Great British Bake Off host Sure Perkins.

Mr Jankovic's boss John Grayson told the Standard on Monday he had been "overwhelmed" by the response to the campaign to stop the deportation.

He is understood to have applied for asylum when he arrived in the country from former Yugoslavia in 1991, but his application was refused.

His leave to remain in the country expired in 1999 but since then he has paid national insurance and tax without any problems, according to Mr Grayson.

Mr Jankovic is currently at a The Verne Immigration Removal Centre – a former prison in the Isle of Portland, Dorset.

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