Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an NZME. News Service reporter

Fifty-eight victims stung in petrol scam

Photo / File photo
Photo / File photo

A caregiver has admitted ripping off more than 50 people in a well-rehearsed petrol scam.

Kim Barwell, 47, pleaded guilty to 59 fraud charges - 58 in the petrol scam, and one of stealing a money box - when he appeared in Christchurch District Court.

He was caught targeting old people and shoppers in a repeat scam where he posed as a farmer who had run out of petrol.

He asked them for petrol money so he could get home, promising to pay them back straight away, and also offering them free meat from his non-existent Canterbury farm.

Barwell, who lives in Hornby, admitted trying the well-known scam 58 times between April 1 and October 8.

The sums he got away with varied from $8 to $270, and total almost $1500.

He also stole a Salvation Army money box with $40 inside it on September 26.

Police last month warned of a man posing as a Hororata farmer who approached shoppers in mall car parks and asking for money so he could fill his car with petrol and drive home.

He appeared in court last month on 27 charges.

But after media publicity, more victims came forward to police saying they had also been taken in by Barwell.

Sergeant Greg Hume said some of them said Barwell had scammed them even after he had been in court.

Christchurch District Court was told today that Barwell was due to be sentenced on other matters next week.

Now, he will have to stay behind bars until he is sentenced in January on all matters.

Judge Paul Couch warned him that given his "extensive history" of dishonesty, the starting point for sentence would be a "significant period of imprisonment".

- APNZ

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