The number of alleged crimes involving the Tinder and Grindr dating apps has increased more than sevenfold in two years - including reports of rape, grooming and attempted murder.

Experts say the findings are "shocking", with the dangers of meeting strangers on so-called hook-up sites relatively unknown.

Kent Police say only one incident has been reported across Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley since 2013.

But the Met Police recorded 202 alleged crimes in which Tinder was mentioned in 2015 and 91 in which Grindr was mentioned.

Former teacher Gary Pearce, from Sidcup was also jailed for five years last September for grooming a 14-year-old boy he met on Grindr.

News Shopper:
Gary Pearce, from Sidcup was 40-years-old at the time he was sentenced

Across the country 55 reports of crimes in England and Wales mentioning Grindr or Tinder in 2013 - according to figures released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act.

These statistics jumped to 204 in 2014 and 412 in the year to October 2015 - according to the 30 police forces who gave figures.

There were 277 crime reports in which Tinder was mentioned in 2015 - up from 21 in 2013.

And 135 alleged crimes in which Grindr was mentioned were recorded in 2015 - up from 34 reported in 2013.

Users vulnerable to "sextortion" - have bumped national figures but this may be "just the tip of the iceberg" with many victims too scared or embarrassed to contact police.

Tinder is used predominantly by heterosexual daters while Grindr is a gay dating app.

Reports of violent and sexual crimes were the most common, with 253 allegations of violence against the person and 152 reports of sex offences, including grooming, rapes and the sexual exploitation of children.

The figures come from police reports where the apps are mentioned in the crime report and does not automatically mean the app was used directly by the criminal.

Gay and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: "The steep rises in sexual and violent offences are a worrying trend that seems likely to continue.

"Closeted gay and bisexual men who use Grindr may be especially vulnerable to targeting because criminals know they will be less likely to report crimes to the police.

“I suspect these figures are just the tip of the iceberg."

Grindr and Tinder did not reply to requests for a comment.