The sensational true story behind new ITV drama The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe

Stockton born actor Monica Dolan plays Anne Darwin and Eddie Marsan plays John. Credit: ITV

Easter Sunday is dishing up a treat on ITV with a drama about John and Anne Darwin - the couple who famously defrauded thousands from life insurance policies from their home in Seaton Carew.

The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe dramatises the audacious scam which began with John Darwin faking his own death in an apparent canoeing accident off the Teesside coast.

His wife Anne publicly grieved for her 'dead' husband and it was only when they tried to move to South America that the story began to unravel.

After the 'accident', the couple continued to live in their home in Seaton Carew, with John hiding in a next door annexe.

All the while they were cashing in his life insurance policies, totalling almost £200,000.

They then tried to move to Panama with their stolen cash and their downfall began.

For reasons unknown, John Darwin decided to 'return from the dead' in 2007 and flew back to the UK, walking into a London police station where he uttered the now infamous words 'I think I am a missing person'.

And so began a police investigation which uncovered the extent of their full, reckless fraud.

'The Thief, his wife and a Canoe' begins on ITV on Easter Sunday at 9pm.