Mon, 20 Nov 2017
A NEWBURY drug baron who went on the run to avoid a lengthy jail sentence has still not been caught.
Adrian John Tarft was tried in August for operating a ‘drug deals on wheels’ business from the back of his white Ford van.
But he absconded during his own defence.
Tarft had claimed he needed urgent dental treatment and left his defence counsel, Steve Molloy, to battle on alone.
When he did not return for the rest of his trial, the 37-year-old father-of-five was convicted in his absence, and a sentencing hearing was arranged.
But he never showed up for it and a warrant for his arrest was issued.
Police apprehended Tarft, but he was granted bail once more after he promised to turn up for a rescheduled sentencing.
At that hearing, at Reading Crown Court on Monday, September 18, it emerged that he had stopped answering the phone to Mr Molloy, after initially assuring him that he fully intended to turn up and face the music.
Judge Maria Lamb said she would proceed to sentence him in his absence this time.
Meanwhile, Tarft, who, the court heard, was rumoured to have access to a secret drugs warehouse, posted a picture on his social media Facebook account just before the sentencing hearing, grinning widely while sporting a long-haired disguise and giving a one-fingered salute.
The page has not been updated since.
After the nine-year jail term was handed down, Thames Valley Police issued an appeal for information as to his whereabouts.
But this week a spokeswoman for the force, Hannah Jones, said Tarft was still on the run.
She added: “Enquiries are ongoing to locate him.”
Anyone with information that could help trace Tarft should contact Thames Valley Police via the 101 number.
Alternatively, the independent Crimestoppers charity can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.