SOME of you may have seen the recent feature in the Echo's weekend magazine about a new book on Portland Borstal Institution.

The book, Portland Borstal Institution Miscellany, has been written by John Hutton, former prison officer and volunteer at the Grove Prison Museum on Portland.

John said the most disruptive times as the borstal, which was open from 1921 to 1983, was when there was 'a runner'.

We were delighted to hear from online commenter 'shy-talk', who used to serve in the Royal Navy at Portland.

He remembers: "One time there was a Borstal break out. We were sent out to search for them. Most of them came down East Weare heading towards the dockyard. Most of them used the same route to try and escape so this made it very easy to catch them and then return them."

He also remembers a television documentary about the borstal system in which present young offenders were placed into the system for three months.

He notes: "All of them could not hack it and said it was to hard and asked to be removed back to the YOI."

In this Dorset Evening Echo article about a search for escaped borstal boys in 1970, we learn that two youths, aged 20, made a dash for freesom wearing overalls and Army-type boots with webbing gaits.

The article said they were thought to be lying low somewhere. Tracker dogs were used in the search for them.