Grindr scammer jailed for blackmailing men

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A man has been jailed for five years for robbing and blackmailing nine men he met for sex on dating app Grindr.

After having consensual sex with his victims, 28-year-old Anouar Sabbar would claim he was actually an escort and demand payment for his visit.

He stole £2,360 from his victims between April 2019 and June 2021, the Metropolitan Police said.

Sabbar, from south London, had pleaded guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court to robbery, theft, blackmail and fraud.

Image source, Metropolitan Police
Image caption,
Anouar Sabbar was arrested in July

At least nine victims were duped by Sabbar, who would edit his Grindr profile after arriving for a hook-up.

After having consensual sex, he would show the men his updated profile that then advertised a £180-an-hour rate for escorting services, police said.

He told one victim who refused to pay: "They are coming. I didn't want to do this to you, but it looks like we will have to break your face."

He threatened to expose another victim by sending screenshots of their conversations to the man's girlfriend.

In some cases, Sabbar stole jewellery from the men's homes.

Sabbar, of Southwark, south London, was arrested with his girlfriend in a hotel in July 2021.

"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," said senior crown prosecutor Toyin Akinyemi.

"He specifically targeted men based on their sexuality."

The Metropolitan Police has encouraged victims of crime on Grindr and similar apps to get in touch, quoting Operation Fardella.

"We are here to listen to you and will take what you say incredibly seriously. You will be treated with sensitivity and in confidence," said Det Insp Arif Sharif.