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A scammer who used a dating app to rob and blackmail nine online dates has been jailed for five years.

Anouar Sabbar, 28, of Cole Street, Southwark, would seek out his victims on Grindr before demanding money for acts that he later claimed were part of the mersin escort services he had advertised. 

He would then threaten his victims, who were between age 25 and 57, with violence or blackmail.

In total nine victims were fleeced out of a total of £2,360 between April 2019 and June 2021. 

Sabbar was sentenced to five years in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday after previously pleading guilty to robbery, theft, five counts of blackmail and five counts of fraud at the same court in November.

Anouar Sabbar, 28, (pictured) of Cole Street, Southwark, would seek out his victims on Grindr before before demanding money for acts that he later claimed were part of the escort services he had advertised

Nine victims were duped by Sabbar who would match with the unsuspecting men, before updating his Grindr profile with details about escort prices moments before the pre-arranged encounters.

After consensual sex, Sabbar would demand money and point the victims to his updated profile which claimed a £180 hourly rate.

When one 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. 

Once he got the money, Sabbar would block the victim's profile on Grindr, 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. 

He coerced another victim into giving him a total of £525 after threatening to 'out' him by sending screenshots of their conversations to his girlfriend.

Sabbar also stole £875 in cash and a 24-carat gold bangle which he pawned off from another victim. 

Three of the victims contacted the police and a Grindr profile called 'scammer' was also set up by a victim to encourage further reporting.

Sabbar was arrested with his girlfriend in a hotel a short walk away from London City Airport on 16 July 2021.

He admitted five charges of fraud, five counts of blackmail, robbery and theft. 

Sabbar was sentenced to five years in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court (pictured) on Thursday after previously pleading guilty to robbery, theft, five counts of blackmail and five counts of fraud in November

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 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.'

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.

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'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.'

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