Police said Wednesday they have arrested a man who vanished more than five years ago then turned up at a police station last weekend claiming he had lost his memory.

A published report, meanwhile, claimed that the man and his wife had been seen together in Panama since his disappearance. His wife reportedly moved to Panama earlier this year.

Cleveland Police, in northeast England, said John Darwin, 57, had been arrested in connection with their investigation of his apparent disappearance at sea.

Darwin disappeared after going out to sea in his canoe, which was later found wrecked on a beach. A coroner officially declared him dead.

His wife Anne yesterday told reporters she had believed her husband was dead and claimed on his life insurance policy in good faith.

The Daily Mirror reported that a photo of the Darwins was taken in Panama last year when they stayed in an apartment rented through the firm Move to Panama.

A couple named John and Anne are pictured on the company's Web site with the firm's boss Mario Vilar but Vilar said they had not used the surname Darwin.

Darwin's aunt, Margaret Burns, 80, told reporters the truth may be established "if we wait a bit."

"What's the point in speculating when we don't know? I'm as intrigued as anybody about what happens next," Burns told reporters.

"Most of the family believe the trauma of nearly drowning in the canoe was enough to make him lose his memory, but I'm not so sure.

"I'm a cynic now. To be honest I don't believe he ever got his feet wet," Burns said.