A man who preyed on gay men to steal from them and pretended to be 17 when speaking to police has been jailed.

Reda Zahri, of Haverstock Road, was jailed for 11 years and six months at Southwark Crown Court on March 1.

The court heard how Zahri, 22, would talk with men to gain their confidence and would often engage in sexual activity with them before stealing their items.

Many of these victims were unaware that he had stolen something before he left.

Zahri swiped more than £25,000 from one victim using a suitcase.

He was eventually tracked down after he stole from a man he met in Camden and the victim was able to get Zahri’s Instagram handle.

When he was arrested on May 12, 2022, he initially refused to answer any questions and claimed to be 17 to appear to be a juvenile in the eyes of the law.

Eventually detectives determined his true age after finding a link to Germany, where Zahri had been before coming to the UK.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary, one count of false imprisonment and one count of attempting to commit robbery to three different men.

Detective Constable Nigel Pacquette from the Safeguarding Team based at Charing Cross Police Station led the investigation and said: “All three of Zahri’s victims were gay men, making clear that he was preying on members of the gay community. I also hope this sends out a strong message that the police will investigate anyone and everyone who has been a victim of crime.

“It is entirely plausible that Zahri targeted other people who, for whatever reason, have not had the confidence to come forward and report this. I would urge you to please make contact with police so we can investigate any allegations thoroughly.”