Backing for pilot scheme

John Darwin's passport photograph

John Darwin's passport photograph

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THE brother of a baby whose identity was stolen by canoe conman John Darwin has welcomed a new pilot registration system.

The new Tell Us Once pilot scheme is being trialled in Sunderland and means information on birth and death registrations is shared across council and Government departments.

Alf Jones, 55, has been campaigning for the birth certificates of dead children to be marked to ensure they cannot be used fraudulently after Darwin, of Seaton Carew, stole the identity of his brother John Jones, who had died as a baby.

Darwin stole John’s identity after faking his death at sea in an insurance scam that saw him jailed for more than six years.

He obtained a passport by using a birth certificate for John, who was born in Sunderland in 1950, but died aged just 34 days.

Alf, from the Pallion area of Sunderland, welcomed the news that the new system would share death registrations with identity and passport services.

“I’m over the moon,” he said. “Anything like that which will stop people doing what Darwin and others have done is a good thing.”

He added: “Families of deceased relatives will have no idea that someone is walking around with their loved one’s identity – and won’t find out until it all hits the fan.

“People don’t pick up on it. What people remember about the Darwin case is how much it upset his sons, or the money he scammed. They don’t think about us – we’re innocent victims.

“It’s really not very nice.”