A DRUG runner who went on the run for almost two years is being held in his cell 24/7 and told a court he was concerned for his health - after other prisoners at HMP Pentonville tested positive for coronavirus.

Mohamed Guetfi, 28, handed himself in to police late last year 22 months after he failed to appear before Swindon Crown Court to answer charges of being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine.

The Londoner had been arrested in November 2016 after police spotted him emerge from a house on Eastcott Hill.

When officers raided the crack den they found 77 wraps of crack and 33 wraps of heroin with a collective street value of £1,100 had been thrown from a back bedroom window. Almost £800 in cash was found on Guetfi and in the house, along with the drugs line phone showing he had been sending bulk advertising texts to addicts for a month.

In 2014, Guetfi was jailed for his involvement in a London County Lines operation that swamped Southampton with heroin and crack cocaine.

While he was the run, the Londoner appeared on the Metropolitan Police’s most wanted list. He was sought in connection with a 2016 burglary.

Appearing before Swindon Crown Court earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

And on Thursday he was back before the court via video link from HMP Pentonville to be sentenced for the crime.

Chris Smyth, defending, said his client was concerned for his health during the pandemic. “In the current crisis, in a prison where there are confirmed cases of coronavirus, he is locked up 24 hours a day.

“He is fearful in that environment, perhaps being more vulnerable than most because of previous drug use and not being in the best of health, he is more vulnerable.

“It’s not a pleasant place to be. A custodial sentence at this time is perhaps more onerous.”

Mr Smyth said his client had been addicted to the drugs he was caught running. He suffered from poor mental health.

In the two years he was wanted on a court warrant, Guetfi had worked various jobs and had an offer of work as a chef.

He handed himself in at the end of 2019 having beaten his drug addiction. Mr Smyth said: “As he puts it, he felt sufficiently back on his feet to deal with the sentencing process, which he knew would inevitably be custody.”

The barrister asked the judge to take into consideration the delay between his client being arrested in November 2016 and his being charged a year later.

Jailing him for three and a half years, Judge Peter Crabtree told Guetfi: “You have worked productively, it seems, between 2017 and when you handed yourself in to police.

“I also accept prison will be more onerous for many people – if not all people – given the current circumstances.”