"His actions were callous, deceitful and greedy."
Anouar Sabbar, aged 28, of Southwark, London, was jailed for five years after he used Grindr to rob and blackmail men after having sex with them.
Southwark Crown Court heard that between April 2019 and June 2021, he stole a total of £2,360 from the nine victims.
Sabbar would target his victims on Grindr.
Moments before the pre-arranged meetings, he would update his profile with details about escort prices.
After having consensual sex with the men, Sabbar would tell them he was an escort and demand money from them, pointing the victims to his updated profile.
Sabbar would then threaten the victims, aged between 25 and 57, with violence or blackmail.
On one occasion when a victim refused to pay, Sabbar told him:
“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 victim was so terrified he handed over the money.
In another incident, Sabbar threatened to tell his victim’s girlfriend about their sexual encounter and threatened to show her screenshots of their chat history.
He also stole £875 in cash and a 24-carat gold bangle from other victims.
After obtaining the money, Sabbar would block the victim’s Grindr profile, which automatically removed the online conversation for both parties, making it difficult for him to be traced.
He would also swap his SIM cards and mobile phone number regularly and often changed his hairstyle so he wasn’t recognised.
Sabbar was caught after a police officer investigating one of his robberies linked him to a string of robberies following an incident in Tower Hamlets.
He was identified from various numbers, addresses, aliases and usernames.
On July 16, 2021, Sabbar was arrested at a hotel near London City Airport.
Sabbar pleaded guilty to robbery, theft, five counts of blackmail and five counts of fraud.
Toyin Akinyemi, of 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 prosecution case included screenshots of Sabbar’s Grindr profile and details of the bank account Sabbar had supplied to some of his victims, which the investigation was able to link back to him.
“We were also able to demonstrate Sabbar’s hostility towards his victims in the way that he specifically targeted men based on their sexuality.”
Sabbar was jailed for five years.
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.
“In situations such as this, the Met is focused on the motive and behaviour of the offender, rather than the behaviour of the victim.
“I would therefore urge anyone who has been a victim of crime following a meet on Grindr or similar platforms to speak to us directly quoting Op Fardella.
“Alternatively, contact us through a third party support group such as Galop or reach out 100% anonymously using the independent charity Crimestoppers.”