The Theft Act 1968 covers these offences and others, for example, shoplifting, theft in breach of trust, theft by finding, going equipped to steal, handling stolen goods, taking a conveyance without consent (including the aggravated offence) or allowing yourself to be carried. It is a complex area of the law, with specific legal meanings, and we can give you thorough, professional advice as to whether you may have a legal defence.
You might have come into possession of someone else’s property quite legitimately. You may have assumed property to be abandoned. In the case of handling stolen goods, you might have suspected the property was stolen, but this would not be sufficient for a conviction. If you drive a car which doesn’t belong to you, it may not constitute a criminal offence. The same applies where you accept a lift from someone who has stolen a car. You might be accused of an offence of robbery (or other type of offence) where you were present but didn’t get involved. It may seem very unfair. This is sometimes referred to as ‘joint enterprise’; a complicated legal concept which we can help you to understand.
Robbery is theft with the use or threat of the use of force. The prosecution must prove that the force used or threat was “in order to steal”. It is a serious offence.
Burglary (domestic and non- domestic) is committed where someone enters a building as a trespasser with intent to steal, or that person does steal or commits criminal damage or has another ulterior intent. In the case of sentencing, a minimum fixed term of imprisonment of 3 years can apply for a third offence.
Handling stolen goods is an offence where someone knowingly or believing them to be stolen, dishonestly undertakes in their retention, removal, disposal or realisation, by or for the benefit of another person. An issue is whether the person is shutting their mind to the obvious conclusion that the goods are stolen.
Many of these allegations involve the use of forensic evidence (DNA which can take the form of hair, saliva, blood or fingerprints) by the police. We can help you to challenge such evidence, where you think mistakes have been made, or where there is a lawful reason for you being linked to a crime scene. We regularly use experts in forensic science to test the quality of that evidence.