RECORD-BREAKING escapee John Patrick Hannan is toasting 60 years on the run from a Dorset prison.

He holds the world record for the longest escape from custody after fleeing The Verne at Portland, in 1955, pipping infamous escapees such as Ronnie Biggs to the title.

Irishman Hannan was aged just 22 at the time of his breakout.

He is technically still a wanted man today – although it is understood that Dorset Police have given up actively looking for him.

Hannan was just 30 days into a 21-month prison sentence imposed at the Old Bailey for car theft and assaulting two police officers when he escaped.

He fled The Verne by scaling the walls with knotted sheets, along with fellow inmate Gwynant Thomas, on Thursday, December 22, 1955.

The pair broke into a nearby petrol station and helped themselves to overcoats, beer and cigarettes.

Thomas, also 22, was arrested within 24 hours at Kingston Russell, near Dorchester, after the duo were spotted by a lorry driver.

But Hannan evaded a major police manhunt – complete with a series of roadblocks and tracker dogs – to make his way to freedom.

He broke the previous longest escape world record of 45 years and 11 months, held by Leonard Frisco from Nevada in the USA, back in 2001.

Hannan’s time as a fugitive easily eclipses some of Britain’s more notorious prisoners’ efforts, such as train robber Ronnie Biggs who spent 32 years on the run in Brazil.

Dorset Police made a fresh bid to try and trace Hannan – who officers believe headed back to his native Ireland after absconding – in 1998.

An appeal in the force newspaper Blueprint asked: “Have you seen John Patrick Hannan?

“He is described as five feet seven inches with brown hair, blue eyes and proportionate build.”

The plea also addressed the man himself: “If you read this Mr Hannan please write in, we’d love to hear from you.”

Whether Hannan is still alive – now aged 82 – remains a mystery.

Anyone with information on him can still contact any police station in the UK.