The two British women charged with trying to smuggle £1.5m of cocaine out of Peru have no blankets and are being left to go hungry, a lawyer has claimed.

Peter Madden, who is representing Michaella McCollum Connolly, described the conditions of the holding cells his client and Melissa Reid are being kept in as “pretty grim.”

He said: “They are expected to lie almost on the floor. There is a sort of sponge bed which is not acceptable, it is not clean.

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Michaella McCollum Connolly (left) and Melissa Reid have been charged with drug offences

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The pair, both 20, deny the allegations and claim they were forced to carry the bags by armed men

"They have not been offered any food. To me that is unacceptable."

The pair, both 20, were formally charged on Tuesday and face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years if convicted, the prosecutor’s office in Callao, near Lima said.

They have spent the last two weeks in custody over the allegations but are expected to be transferred to prison to await their trial.

They were pictured on Tuesday in handcuffs being escorted by officers from the National Police anti-drug headquarters for medical examinations.

Madden said the two women had not been given anything to eat since dawn as they were taken through the Peruvian justice system on the day they were charged.

Peruvian police said they found around 24lb of cocaine hidden inside food packages as the women attempted to board a flight from Lima to Madrid.

The women, who both deny the allegations and say they were forced to carry the bags by armed men, are expected to enter not guilty pleas. If refused bail, they face up to three years in jail before a trial.

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The pair could spend time at Santa Monica women's prison in Lima

An Irish priest based in Peru has described prisons in the country as “very, very spartan", and warned the pair could be in for a “rough time”.

“Very often prisoners have to sleep on the floor. All they get is cardboard to protect them against the concrete floor,” Fr Maurice Foley told RTE’s Today With Myles Dungan.

He added: “The food isn’t good and hygiene is not good either. From that point of view I think they’re in for a rough time.”

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Nightclub hostess McCollum Connolly (left) and Reid are currently in a holding facility in Lima

It is being reported the women could be transferred to Lima’s Santa Monica women’s prison.

The Irish Times cites a 2012 United States Department of State report, which noted the prison had 1,035 inmates, more than double the 450 it was designed for.

It said inmates in Peruvian prisons had intermittent access to drinkable water, inadequate bathing facilities and unhygienic kitchen facilities.

It also states inmates with money had access to mobile phones, illegal drugs and meals prepared outside of the prison.

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Santa Monica prison houses 1,035 inmates - more than double the 450 it was designed for

Human rights organisation Amnesty International has expressed concern about conditions in Peruvian prisons.

“There are almost 50,000 prisoners in Peru for fewer than 30,000 prison places. Most prisoners report having to sleep in corridors,” Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan told the newspaper.

He added: “The number of foreign nationals held in Peru has been growing steadily in the last few years, due to an increase in arrests for cocaine trafficking.”

‘Mary’, a Minnesotan missionary has detailed her experiences of working with prisoners at Santa Monica on a travel blog.

She writes: "The prison does not supply anything. If you have no relatives here, you have absolutely nothing. Part of my job is to collect donations and bring them in.

"We bring them soap, toothpaste, toiletry, shampoo, clothes, blankets, magazines.... They have nothing to read. They need blankets because it gets freezing cold during winter.

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Inmates have limited access to drinkable water at the jail

"As soon as a new prisoner arrives we immediately give her spoons, forks, and a plate, otherwise they have to wait for someone to finish eating in order to use her plate."

There is a possibility the women could be sent to Ancon 2 – a prison where many foreigners are detained.

The BBC describes it as a modern facility, which does not yet suffer from the endemic problems of other jails in Latin America, namely overcrowding and crumbling infrastructure.

It currently houses 325 foreign inmates, more than 100 of which are women, the majority of whom are there on drug charges.

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  • Melissa Reid, Michaella McCollum Connolly, Peter Madden

    Ireland's Michaella McCollum Connolly, left, Scotland's Melissa Reid, second from the left, and British lawyer Peter Madden representing Connolly, talk to a translator during their hearing at court in Callao, Peru, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. Prosecutors formally levied drug-trafficking charges on Tuesday against Reid and Connolly who were arrested this month trying to depart Peru with 24 pounds of cocaine in their luggage. The man at right is an unidentified translator. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Melissa Reid, Michaella McCollum Connolly

    Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, left, and Melissa Reid, of Scotland, center, attend their hearing at court in Callao, Peru, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. Prosecutors formally levied drug-trafficking charges on Tuesday against Reid and Connolly who were arrested this month trying to depart Peru with 24 pounds of cocaine in their luggage. The man at right is an unidentified translator. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Melissa Reid, Michaella McCollum Connolly

    Michaella McCollum Connolly, right, and Melissa Reid are escorted by police as they arrive to court for their hearing in Callao, Peru, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. Prosecutors formally levied drug-trafficking charges on Tuesday against Reid, of Scotland, and Connolly, of Ireland, who were arrested this month trying to depart Peru with 24 pounds of cocaine in their luggage. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Melissa Reid

    Melissa Reid, of Scotland, smiles as she arrivals to court for her hearing in Callao, Peru, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. Prosecutors formally levied drug-trafficking charges on Tuesday against Reid and Michaella McCollum Connollyand, of Ireland, who were arrested this month trying to depart Peru with 24 pounds of cocaine in their luggage. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Melissa Reid, Michaella McCollum Connolly

    Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, left, and Melissa Reid, of Scotland, center, listen to a translator during their hearing at court in Callao, Peru, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. Prosecutors formally levied drug-trafficking charges on Tuesday against Reid and Connolly who were arrested this month trying to depart Peru with 24 pounds of cocaine in their luggage. The man at right is an unidentified translator. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Melissa Reid, Michaella McCollum Connolly

    Police escort Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, left, and Melissa Reid, of Britain, in handcuffs as they are moved from the National Police anti-drug headquarters to a court to be formally charged for drug trafficking in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. Video emerged showing Reid and Connolly being nervously interrogated after their Aug. 6 detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Michaella McCollum Connolly

    Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, right, sits inside a police car as she is moved from the National Police Anti-drug headquarters to a court where she will be formally charged for drug trafficking in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. Video emerged showing Connolly and her travel partner being nervously interrogated after their Aug. 6 detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Melissa Reid

    Melissa Reid, of Britain, sits inside of police car as she is moved from the National Police anti-drug headquarters to a court where she will be formally charged for drug trafficking in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. Video emerged showing Reid and her travel partner being nervously interrogated after their Aug. 6 detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Michaella McCollum Connolly

    Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, is escorted in handcuffs into a car by police as she leaves the National Police anti-drug headquarters before being driven to a court where she will be formally charged for drug trafficking in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. Video emerged showing Connolly and her travel partner being nervously interrogated after their Aug. 6 detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Melissa Reid, Michaella McCollum Connolly

    Police escort Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, front left, and Melissa Reid, of Britain, in handcuffs as they are moved from the National Police anti-drug headquarters to a court to be formally charged for drug trafficking in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. Video emerged showing Reid and Connolly being nervously interrogated after their Aug. 6 detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Melissa Reid

    Police escort Melissa Reid, of Britain, left, from the National Police anti-drug headquarters to a court to be formally charged for drug trafficking in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. Video emerged showing Reid and her travel partner being nervously interrogated after their Aug. 6 detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • William Reid

    William Reid, father of Melissa Reid, of Britain, leaves the National Police anti-drug headquarters where his daughter and her travel companion Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, are being held after their detention in Lima, Peru, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. Video emerged showing the two women being nervously interrogated after their Aug. 6 detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Peter Madden, Keith McCollum Connolly

    The brother of suspected drug smuggler Michaella McCollum Connolly, Keith, right, and her lawyer Peter Madden, second from the left, leave the National Police anti-drug headquarters where Michaella and her travel partner Melissa Reid, are being held, in Lima, Peru, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. Video emerged showing the two women being interrogated after their Aug. 6 detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Peter Madden

    British lawyer Peter Madden, right, who is representing Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, speaks to the media outside the National Police anti-drug headquarters where Connolly and Melissa Reid, of Britain, are being held after their detention in Lima, Peru, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013. Video emerged showing the two women being nervously interrogated after their Aug. 6 detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • Peter Madden, Keith McCollum Connolly

    The brother of suspected drug smuggler Michaella McCollum Connolly, Keith, right, and her lawyer Peter Madden, second from the left, leave the National Police anti-drug headquarters where Michaella and her travel partner Melissa Reid, are being held, in Lima, Peru, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. Video emerged showing the two women being interrogated after their Aug. 6 detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • A police officer walks past the National Police anti-drug headquarters where Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, and Melissa Reid, of Britain, are held after their detention in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. Video emerged showing the two women being nervously interrogated after their detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

  • In this Aug. 6, 2013 photo released by Peru's National police, food packages allegedly containing cocaine and found in the luggage of Michaella McCollum Connolly, from Ireland, and Melissa Reid, from Britain, lay on a table after the women were detained at the airport in Lima, Peru. Video emerged showing the two women being nervously interrogated after their detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Peru's National Police)

  • In this Aug. 6, 2013 photo provided by Peru's National Police, Michaella McCollum Connolly, of Ireland, left, and Melissa Reid, of Britain, stand behind their luggage after being detained at the airport in Lima, Peru. Video emerged showing the two women being nervously interrogated after their detention at Lima's airport for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine on a flight to Spain. In the video, Reid says she was forced to take "these bags" in her luggage. She says she didn't know there were drugs inside them. (AP Photo/Peru's National Police)