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Criminal Law Explained : The Offence of Theft

Articles, Crime, Criminal Law Explained

In this “Criminal Law Explained” article we will take you through the law, the sentencing and the defence for the offence of Theft in England & Wales.

The Criminal Offence of Theft is contained within Section 1 of the Theft Act 1968. This offence is committed when a person dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

Therefore, in order to secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the following elements have all been satisfied:

  • Property is appropriated (taken)
  • Dishonestly
  • Which belongs to another
  • The intention is to permanently deprive the other of the property

What is the Criminal Sentence for Theft?


  • A custodial (prison) sentence of up to 7 years
  • Community Order
  • Fine

Sentencing Guidelines 

theft sentencing guidelines uk england

When will I require legal representation?

Theft can be a complex offence, which in certain circumstances the prosecution may struggle to prove all the required elements therefore, it is always beneficial to seek expert legal advice if you have been charged with this offence.

A conviction can result in a prison sentence and will result in a criminal record, which may cause difficulties with your current or future employment.

Things our solicitors look out for in Theft Cases

  • Identifying weaknesses within the prosecution case;
  • Assessing whether the prosecution can prove who the property belonged to, dishonesty, and intention to permanently deprive
  • Determining whether there is a viable defence
  • Evaluating the strength of the prosecution evidence
  • Assessing the credibility of prosecution witnesses
  • Identifying potential defence witnesses

Do you require a solicitor for Theft

If you have just read our quick guide to Theft then you should have an idea by now whether you require legal representation for this offence. If you feel you do require legal advice and representation please not hesitate to contact us by calling 0345 222 9955 or by filling out our contact form.

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Our head office is located at 1 Victoria Square in Birmingham City Centre and we offer our services throughout England and Wales on a private fee-paying basis. We also have an office at 5 Chancery Lane in London and another office in central Milton Keynes. We are frequently instructed by individuals and businesses nationwide.

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Birmingham Office

1 Victoria Square
West Midlands
B1 1BD

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London Office

5 Chancery Lane

the pinnacle office

Milton Keynes Office

The Pinnacle
Midsummer Boulevard
Milton Keynes, MK9 1BP

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09:00 – 17:00
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