Theft Solicitors & Criminal Defence Lawyers

Have you been accused of theft? Before taking part in a police interview, it is crucial that you seek specialist legal advice.

At Lawtons, we have expertise and wide-ranging experience in theft cases. Call us today on 0333 577 0522 and we can help to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

What is theft?

Under UK law, theft is one of three ‘dishonesty offences’. It relates to the dishonest taking of property belonging to another, with the sole purpose of permanently depriving the other person of that property.

Theft can be from one person, from a shop – known as shoplifting – or an employer. Identity fraud is also classified as theft under UK law.

Any act of theft is in contravention of the Theft Act 1968 and the Theft Act 1978.

How is theft proved in court?

To  prove an act of theft has taken place, the prosecution in the case must illustrate five key elements:

  • Dishonesty
  • Appropriation
  • The involvement of an item of property
  • That the property belongs to another
  • The intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property

If any of these points cannot be proven then the case is unlikely to succeed and the defendant is entitled to be acquitted and found not guilty

Similar to burglary, theft is classified as an ‘either way’ offence, meaning it can be heard in either the magistrates’ court or the Crown Court. A case is likely to be referred to the Crown Court if the value of the goods stolen is high or if the burglary is of a house or dwelling where people live or sleep, such as a hotel room.

What should you do if you have been accused of theft?

If you have been accused of theft you should seek the advice of a specialist solicitor as soon as you can. An expert legal representative can advise you on the best lines of defence in your own case.

The team at Lawtons can represent you at the police station or in court. Whether your case relates to theft from an employer, theft from a vehicle or identity theft, we are here to help, no matter how minor or major the accusation of theft might be. Get in touch for expert advice and assistance – call us on 0333 577 0522.

FAQs about Theft

Is shoplifting a separate offence from theft?

Shoplifting is one of three forms of theft (the others being theft from one person or from an employer) and is therefore treated the same under the Theft Act. Identity theft and vehicle theft are also classified under the same offence.

What is the penalty for theft?

The maximum sentence for theft in the UK is 14 years’ imprisonment. This will depend on a number of factors such as the value of the goods stolen.