The sons of "back-from-the-dead" canoeist John Darwin have declared they are the victims of a scam after their mother admitted knowing her husband was alive.

Anthony and Mark Darwin have now turned their backs on their parents.

In a joint statement the sons said: "Having seen the recent media speculation surrounding our parents ever since our dad was arrested, we are very much in an angry and confused state of mind.

"If the papers' allegations of a confession from our mom are true then we very much feel that we have been the victims in a large scam.

"How could our mom continue to let us believe our dad had died when he was very much alive?

"We have not spoken to either of our parents since our dad's arrest and at this present time we want no further contact with them."

Anne Darwin is said to have come clean after a picture was discovered showing the couple in Panama in 2006 - three years after he was declared dead.

"My sons will never forgive me. They knew nothing," the 55-year-old told reporters. "They thought John was dead. Now they are going to hate me."

John Darwin's father Ronnie, 90, was shocked at the news.

"I can't believe his wife lived down the road from me and said nothing if she knew he was alive," he said.

Anne Darwin, who moved to Panama just weeks ago, also admitted cashing in a life insurance policy - but says she got the money in good faith.

And she is now preparing to return to England to face questioning by detectives after Sky sources revealed the couple were involved in a "plot."

John Darwin disappeared in 2002 in a suspected North Sea canoeing accident.

The 57-year-old appeared as if out of the blue on Saturday, when he walked into a London police station and announced: "I think I am a missing person."

He has since been arrested on suspicion of fraud and has been passed fit to be questioned by Cleveland police.