John Darwin joins the dole queue

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CANOE conman John Darwin was spotted yesterday joining the dole queue.

The shamed 60-year-old was caught visiting the benefits office in Easington. He is now living in Easington Colliery following his release from prison last week.

Darwin and wife Anne were locked up for more than six years each after he faked his own death in a £250,000 insurance scam.

He was released last Monday and his 59-year-old wife is due out in March.

The couple thought they had carried out the perfect crime after he apparently went missing at sea in 2002 and his death was later certified by a coroner.

But he spent years living in a secret room at their home at The Cliff, in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, while flitting around the world planning a new life for the pair with the money from insurance payouts.

He then turned up at a London police station in 2007 claiming he had amnesia.

But as the police investigation unfolded, a picture emerged showing the two of them happily posing for the camera in Panama at a time he was supposed to be dead. In 2008 the two were jailed for fraud and money laundering.

The ex-prison officer was jailed for six years and three months and was released last week after serving half of his sentence.

Dressed in jeans, white v-necked jumper and black leather jacket he stayed tight-lipped after camera crews and photographers captured him leaving a house and getting into a dark-coloured saloon car driven by another man.

Moments later he was seen going into the dole office and later left without comment.