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Further charges likely over petrol-money scam

Further charges likely over petrol-money scam

A Christchurch man accused of scamming people out of cash for petrol money is expected to face a number of additional charges over similar offending when he next appears in court.

Kim Barwell, aged 47, was arrested last month and appeared on 27 charges of causing loss by deception, relating to incidents earlier this year. He has yet to plead.

It is alleged the man approached complainants, most of whom were elderly, claiming he had run out of petrol and needed cash to buy fuel.

Sergeant Greg Hume, of Christchurch Central Police, says since Barwell's initial appearance police have received at least 20 further complaints from people who claim to have been scammed.

He says some of the new reports are recent, indicating Barwell has continued his alleged offending since his court appearance last month.

"It is also of concern that some of the recent reports involve continued offending against vulnerable elderly people."

The latest charges will be added to the initial list when Barwell appears in the Christchurch District Court next Thursday, 15 November.

Sergeant Hume says publicity over Barwell's alleged offending led to a number of people contacting Police.

"But it is likely there are still a number of victims yet to come forward," he says. "We would like to ensure any further offending is reported, and to identify as many of the offences as possible before the matter is finalised in court.

"I would urge anyone who believes they have been scammed by this alleged offender to contact Police as soon as possible so that their complaints can be put before the court."

Sergeant Hume says although people may feel embarrassed about being scammed, it was important to report any such incidents to police.

"We continue to advise anyone who is approached with these types of requests - don't give cash to strangers. Report any incidents to police, and provide descriptions or vehicle registrations where possible."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sergeant Hume at Christchurch Police on (03) 3637400.

ENDS

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