A man who used the Grindr dating app to target and rob men after having sex with them has been sentenced to five years in jail.
Anouar Sabbar, of Cole Street, Southwark, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court in Redbridge earlier today.
Sabbar would seek out and meet men who have sex with men on Grindr, a dating app for gay, bi and trans people.
After consensual sex, Sabbar would state he was an escort and demanded money from the victims.
He also threatened to use violence or blackmail in order to intimidate the men, whose ages varied from 25 to 57 years old.
He stole a total of £2,360 between April 2019 and June 2021 from the victims.
Detectives are now appealing for others who may have been exploited to come forward.
Det Insp 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.
Supt Martin Kirby, the Met’s lead for hate crime, also praised the bravery of victims for coming forward.
He said: “We do not tolerate the targeting of victims based on their sexuality or gender, or perceived sexuality or gender, and anyone who does come forward to disclose an allegation of crime of this nature will be treated sensitively and in confidence.
“We are working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to protect the identities of victims in these cases, recognising that some victims may not identify as gay or bisexual or be ‘out’ to friends or relatives, perhaps because of cultural reasons.
“I can also fully appreciate that some victims may feel embarrassed about coming forward, or are perhaps nervous about speaking to a police officer due to other factors.
“We are doing all we can, by working closely with other agencies, to give victims the support that is right for them.”
The case comes after serial killer Stephen Port also used the dating app to find victims to rape and kill.
That case of Port, who is serving a whole-life tariff for four murders, has been turned into a BBC drama called Four Lives, starring Stephen Merchant and Sheridan Smith.
If you believe you or someone you know has been a victim, please call 101 quoting Op Fardella. In an emergency always call 999.
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or crimestoppers-uk.org.
You can also contact the charity Galop by calling their LGBT+ hate crime helpline on 0207 704 2040 or visiting galop.org.uk.