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Theft Offences

Under Section 1 of the Theft Act 1968 an individual will be guilty of the criminal offence of theft if they dishonestly take property belonging to someone else with the intention to permanently deprive them of it.


What intention must be proven in order for someone to be convicted of theft?

The following requirements in relation to the intention of the accused must be established for them to be convicted of theft:


– there is no legal definition of what is meant by ‘dishonesty’; however, there are three instances where a person will not be seen to have acted dishonestly:

1.    if a person takes the property in the belief that they have a legal right to have it, for themselves or on behalf of another person.
2.    if a person takes the property in the belief that they would have had the owner’s consent if they knew of it being taken.
3.    if a person takes the property in the belief that the owner cannot be discovered by taking reasonable steps to find them.

Intention to permanently deprive

– the Act states that a person who treats the property as their own without regard to the rights of the true owner will be considered to have shown the intention to permanently deprive (this also applies to situations were the accused intended to return the property to the owner when they were done with it).

What is the maximum sentence an individual can be given for theft?

According to Section 7 of the Theft Act the maximum prison sentence which can be given for the offence of theft will be seven years.

How can AFG LAW help me if I am charged with a theft offence?

AFG LAW have a team of experienced criminal law experts who can help you if you have been accused of committing a theft offence. Criminal law can sometimes be complex and difficult to fully understand – we can help you make sense of the charges against you, evaluate the evidence and advise how to proceed.

We can help you prepare your defence, represent you at trial and even help you with your appeal if it should be necessary. Should you be convicted, we can identify any appropriate mitigating factors or circumstances which may help to reduce your sentence or penalty.

Our criminal law solicitors can help you with your case and provide expert legal advice and representation throughout. If you’d like more information on theft offences please email or ring 01204 377 600 – we’ll explain how AFG LAW’s criminal law specialists can help.

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