NOW you see it, now you don’t. A Poole magician relied on his expert sleight of hand to break the world record for doing the most magic tricks in a minute.

Clive Greenaway has been officially recognised by Guinness World Records after performing 18 illusions in 60 seconds. His achievement comes just three months after he was awarded the world record for telling the most jokes in a minute in front of a live audience.

The 57-year-old, who is a professional Tommy Cooper impersonator, said he was “fanatical” about magic and had performed tricks since he was a young boy.

“I’ve been a magician all my life and I’m also a member of the Magic Circle in London, which is the most prestigious in the world.

“When I was around seven or eight, I tried out my first trick on my mum by putting a carrot underneath a hanky and pretending it was my finger.

“I then asked her to hold my ‘finger’ before cutting it in half and then magically restoring it – it made her scream!

“From then on I had the bug and would buy Paul Daniels magic sets. Later on in life I started to do my own magic show and performed bits of Tommy Cooper – who used to live down the road from me when I lived in London.”

Mr Greenaway, whose stage name is Clive St James, said he was also blindfolded while performing the magic tricks for his world record act, which mainly involved making things appear and disappear.

“I had to be very quick; it was roughly three seconds a trick. I did various things like waving a hanky around until a dove appeared, making rings join together and the Tommy Cooper glass bottle trick. I managed to beat the existing record of 17 tricks.”

He continued: “It’s just fantastic being a world record holder. But I’m always looking to be more fun and do something bigger and better.”

With that in mind, Mr Greenaway’s next goal is to combine his quick comic timing with his passion for driving and audition for the vacant Top Gear presenter role.

“I am also a record holder for passing every vehicle driving test from two to 32 wheels, so I think I have the right ingredients for becoming one of the show’s hosts,” he added.