July 2023

Man jailed for offences including blackmail and attempted fraud

A man who used a dating app to target and rob men after having sex with them has been jailed for a further two years after more victims came forward.

Anouar Sabbar, 29, of Cole Street, Southwark was sentenced to two years and three months at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Wednesday, 25 July.

He previously pleaded guilty to seven counts of blackmail, two counts of attempted fraud, and theft at the same court on Wednesday, 14 June.

Sabbar would seek out and meet men on Grindr. After consensual sex, Sabbar would state he was an escort and demand money from the victims.

He also threatened to use violence or blackmail in order to intimidate the men, who were aged in their thirties.

The offences that he was sentenced for took place between August 2018 and March 2021. He stole a total of £870 from the victims during this time.

Once he got the money, Sabbar would block the victim’s profile on the app, which automatically removed the online conversation for both parties, making it difficult for him to be traced.

Sabbar would swap his SIM cards and mobile phone number regularly, and often changed his hairstyle so he wasn’t recognised.

During one of the incidents in 2018, a victim refused to pay Sabbar so he told him that a group of people would visit his home and beat him up.

In another incident, Sabbar blackmailed a victim to transfer him money and lied to him that the money had not gone through. He then even forged a letter purporting to be from the bank confirming this.

As these latest offences for which Sabbar has been convicted had all happened more than a year prior to this investigation, evidence such as CCTV was no longer available to police.

Detailed statements were taken from all of the victims, covering the various incidents, and how the previous media reporting, including a photograph, in January 2022 had enabled the victims to identify Sabbar. These allowed victims to identify him, even where he had given them a false name.

During one of the incidents, Sabbar had sipped from a glass inside a victim’s home. This allowed police forensic investigators to retrieve his DNA and link him to the offence.

Evidence was gathered from the multiple investigations, across various geographical areas of London, by Operation Fardella, under the ownership of the Central East BCU.

Officers collated and built a detailed and cohesive case file, enabling the conviction of Sabbar of these crimes.