A NEWBURY drug baron is currently on the run after being sentenced to nine years in jail for dealing.
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 and a sentencing hearing at Reading Crown Court on Monday, September 18, was told that police have been unable to track him down.
Judge Maria Lamb said she would proceed to sentence him in his absence.
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 Monday’s hearing, grinning widely while sporting a long-haired disguise and giving a one-fingered salute.
Read the full sentencing in this week's Newbury Weekly News, on sale now.
Investigating officer PC Chris Eaton said: "This case is another good result for the Stronghold team who deal with organised crime within West Berkshire.
"Tarft was a local drug dealer who, over some months, profited from his crimes and has been brought to justice.
"The money seized has been subject to forfeiture by the court and shows that crime doesn't pay. The length of the sentence should act as a deterrent to others thinking of selling drugs.
"The team is committed to tackling those who profit from crime and we encourage hard working and honest members of the public to contact police via our non-emergency number 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report anybody suspicious.
"A tell-tale sign is people living way beyond their means where the only reasonable answer for their wealth is criminal enterprise.
"I would urge anyone who sees Tarft to call 999 to allow us to detain him so that he can serve his sentence of imprisonment."