A FAMILY pressing for changes to the birth and death registration system have taken their campaign online.
The siblings of a dead Sunderland baby –who had his identity stolen by canoe conman John Darwin – have set up a webpage on social network site Facebook to promote their campaign.
Alf Jones and Freda Woods’ brother John Jones, from the East End, died at just 34 days old in 1950, but had his birth certificate bought by Darwin.
The fraudster used it to obtain a passport and flee the country after faking his own death in a life insurance scam.
The former teacher and wife Anne – an ex-Blackhall beauty queen who worked as a doctor’s receptionist in Durham – were both jailed when their deception unravelled.
Afterwards, the Jones’s started a campaign to see parents given the right to have birth certificates of dead babies marked with “deceased,” to stop identity theft.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t realise you can buy birth certificates,” said Alf, 55.
“We want to raise awareness to as many people as possible and Facebook is worldwide – I would like it to go as mad as it can get.”
Alf, and Freda, 59, from Grangetown, branded Darwin a “grave robber” for using their late brother’s identity to travel freely and buy property in Panama after faking his death in 2002.
They hope they can stop other fraudsters using the same system.
“We don’t know how many people there are going round with stolen identities,” added Alf, a construction industry worker from Pallion.
“We thought you had to rifle through skips to do this, but you can go to the civic centre and buy it for £9 – buy it like you would buy a loaf of bread.
“Identity fraud costs the country £1.9billion a year.”
The family have wrote to Downing Street to appeal for a change in Government policy, but have been left frustrated by the lack of progress.
“They’re sending us around the block again,” said Alf.
“It’s been going on for five years and some of the responses are so negative.
The family have been informed their latest letter is under consideration.
The Jones’s told their story to BBC’s Fake Britain show, which is due to be screened in the spring.
To visit their page go to www.facebook.com/StopIdTheftofChildrensBirthCertificates.