A Watford conjurer has been named the best close-up magician by the Magic Circle, having twice come runner up.

TJ Shoesmith, a member of the Watford Association of Magicians, won the competition, which held in the Magic Circle’s headquarters in London, on March 4.

The annual contest is open to all members of the club worldwide to submit videos of their performance, of which only eight are chosen.

During the final, those performers have six to eight minutes to convince the judges, who are watching via a video link, that they are the best magician.

Mr Shoesmith said: "It’s a nerve wracking process, you’re being judged by your peers and you have no idea what they are saying or thinking.

"You have a short time to perform and you have to stick to that otherwise you get disqualified, which makes it difficult."

The judging panel included musician Marc Almond and magician Paul Zenon.

Mr Shoesmith added: "I did a variation of a trick they all know and finished with a torn and restored card which is an unusual approach, I was confident no-one else would do that.

"I had no idea how anyone else had done and there were two or three people I’d never met, so I was quite overcome when I found out I had won because it was a tough room.

"My own feeling was that I’d done fine but I didn’t think I’d kicked anything out the park. I’ve looked back at the tapes and the performance was very solid.

"I did what I wanted to do, and that’s all you can do in any competition."

TJ Shoesmith has been a professional magician for the last fifteen years and is a member of the Inner Magic Circle, alongside just 200 other magicians in the world.

He lived in St Albans Road in Watford for 15 years, and was the secretary of the town’s magic association for five years.

In 2011 he won the Houdini Originality Prize at the International Brotherhood of Magicians Stage Competition, and has been runner up in the Magic Circle’s competition twice.

He added: "The competition at the moment is quite high, but in terms of popularity, Dynamo [TV magician] has been astonishingly successful and has done a great deal for the younger demographic."