Colin Diedrichs was today sentenced to three years in jail after he was found to have claimed benefits for two false identities over a whopping 22-year period.

Diedrichs used the identities of two boys who were born in 1933. One died in 1935 and the other died aged 13 in 1947.

A prosecutor said that he had obtained the birth certificates of the dead children and used them to claim benefits.

Diedrichs was only discovered when he applied for and received passports for himself and the two fake identities.

He pleaded guilty to 17 charges of fraud, and is said to have told a pre-sentence report writer: “I had money but not enough.”

Judge Claire Ryan said that Diedrichs was a “hoarder” who had not spent the money but kept it in bank accounts. A lawyer from the Ministry of Social Development said NZ$357,000 was being recovered from Diedrichs.