A man who used a dating app to meet men for casual sex before robbing and blackmailing them has been jailed, the Metropolitan Police said.
Anouar Sabbar, 28, would seek out his victims on Grindr before having sex with them and demanding cash for acts he claimed were escort services he had advertised.
He was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court to five years in prison on Thursday after previously pleading guilty to robbery, theft, five counts of blackmail and five counts of fraud at the same court in November, the force said.
He stole £2,360 from his victims, who were aged 25 to 57, between April 2019 and June 2021, it added.
After getting his money, Sabbar would block his victims’ Grindr profiles, automatically removing their conversations and making it harder for him to be traced, detectives said.
He would also regularly change his phone number, sim card, and hair style.
The force told how one victim was threatened with violence by Sabbar after refusing to pay, while another was warned his girlfriend would be told of the encounter.
Sabbar told one man: “It is out of my hands now, they are coming. I didn’t want to do this to you but it looks like we will have to break your face,” the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
Three victims contacted police, with one also setting up a Grindr profile called “scammer” to encourage further reporting.
Following an investigation which linked the various crimes together, Sabbar was arrested in a hotel near London City Airport on July 16 2021, the CPS said.
Detectives are now appealing for others who may have been exploited by Sabbar to come forward.
Toyin Akinyemi, from the CPS, said: “Anouar Sabbar used Grindr to prey on men who he believed would be too embarrassed and ashamed to call him out.
“His actions were callous, deceitful and greedy.
“Sabbar used a similar pattern with most of his victims – lulling them into a false sense of security with consensual sex before demanding money. He used pressure and threats to carry out his offending.
“The CPS will always work to bring to justice fraudsters who prey on victims in this vile way, and I hope this prosecution provides other victims of such crimes the courage to come forward in the knowledge that their concerns will be treated with sensitivity.”
Detective Inspector Arif Sharif said: “The victims in this case have been incredibly brave in coming forward and reporting the offences Sabbar committed against them.
“Sabbar is a nasty and spineless individual who used Grindr to target victims and used their vulnerabilities against them.
“It is with thanks to the officer who diligently carried out the investigation that this dangerous offender has been taken off the streets.
“There may be others who were exploited by Sabbar who until now have felt unable to tell anyone. Please get in touch with us – we are here to listen to you and will take what you say incredibly seriously. You will be treated with sensitivity and in confidence.”
Anyone who believes they have been a victim, or knows someone who has been, can call 101, quoting Op Fardella.
People can also contact the charity Galop by calling their LGBT+ hate crime helpline on 0207 704 2040 or visiting galop.org.uk