Middle-aged gay men who drink in the Charing Cross area of London have been advised to stay on their guard after a spate of drug-assisted robberies.

Lambeth Police say there have been a number of incidents in which older men have been approached by a young man in a Charing Cross bar and subsequently robbed.

The victims are said to have invited the man back to their homes but woke disorientated the next day to discover that their property had been stolen. Police suspect the victims were drugged at some point in the evening.

Items stolen include money, bank cards and, in some instances, cars.

A police spokesman said that a 19-year-old man was arrested and charged with a number of offences relating to the investigation but gay men should be be aware of this type of crime.

He said: “We are urging the gay community to be aware of this type of crime, of whom they meet and in particular being careful about drinks prepared for them in their own homes by others whom they may have only recently met.

“If you feel you have been a victim of a similar crime, please attend your local police station or speak to your LGBT liaison officer in confidence, who can be found on www.met.police.uk/contacts/lgbt.htm.

“To help the police investigate this matter, victims are advised to see a doctor the following day and consider a blood sample being taken to screen for drugs, not to touch glasses, bottles or cigarette butts and keep any clothing, bedding or other items from which DNA may be recovered.”