The Irish woman accused of attempting to smuggle $2.3 million worth of cocaine out of Peru has been moved to a jail cell that she must share with 38 other inmates.

Michaella McCollum Connolly from Dungannon, Co Tyrone and her co-accused Melissa Reid from Glasgow have been moved to the cramped holding facility inside Virgen de Fatima Prison in Peru’s capital.

News reports suggest the two young women will have to have to share one cold shower and a toilet.

One source told the Mirror newspaper:  “After two months of relative good conditions by Peruvian standards they are now experiencing the reality of prison life.

“The authorities hope it will make the girls understand that the sooner they co-operate fully, life will remain as it now is.

The two women, both 20, have been been in custody in Peru since August 6th, when they were arrested as they tried to board a flight to Madrid from Lima’s Jorge Chavez airport.

They spent the last two months at the notorious Lima prison where they shared a single cell. Reid’s father William said he is concerned for the women's well-being.

“They probably had it good in the other cell, but now it's totally different for them," he said. "It's really worrying. It all adds to the concern. I hope they're safe."

Chloe Constant, a French academic specialising in female jails in Peru, said health was the biggest concern in communal cells.

"When you're living in such close proximity to other prisoners, disease can spread quickly," she told a Sunday newspaper.

"Skin diseases are very common, especially fungal infections. Tuberculosis is also a big problem, and even HIV.

"There is great poverty inside these jails, and that will be a shock."

Last month the women pleaded guilty to drug smuggling when they appeared before a judge, but their guilty plea was later rejected.