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A person will be guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention to permanently deprive the other person of it.  Theft is triable either way. It is recommended that it should be tried summarily unless the magistrates consider their sentencing powers inadequate and one of the following factors is present:

  • Breach of trust by a person in authority or in whom a high degree of trust is placed;

  • The theft is disguised or has been committed in a sophisticated manner;

  • Commission of the offence by an organised gang;

  • The victim is particularly vulnerable;

  • The unrecovered property is worth at least £10,000

If you have been charged with a theft offence it is vital to speak with a criminal defence solicitor to plan your case and discuss any possible defences. Defences can include, for example, a genuine belief on the part of the defendant that he was entitled to take the property, or that it belonged to him or that there was an intention to return the property.


The maximum sentence is 7 years’ imprisonment. There are also specific sentencing guidelines for theft in breach of trust, theft from a dwelling, theft from the person, and theft from a shop. Robbery and Assault with Intent to Rob Robbery is committed where a defendant commits theft, and immediately before, or at the time of doing so, he or she uses force, or the threat of force, in order to effect the theft. It is important to note that this definition does not cover force used after the theft, or force that is unconnected with the theft. As with theft offences it is vital to speak with a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible if you are charged with this offence to plan your case. Sentencing Robbery and assault with intent to rob are triable only on indictment and carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Various factors are considered when determining sentence and you should enlist the help of a specialist criminal solicitor to ensure you receive the best possible advocacy on the day of trial.


A person will commit burglary if:

  • he enters a building, or part of a building, as a trespasser and with the intent to:

  • Steal anything in it;

  • Inflict GBH on any person inside it;

  • Do unlawful damage to the building or anything in it


  • having entered any building or part of a building as a trespasser, he:

  • Steals or attempts to steal anything in it;

  • Inflicts or attempts to inflict GBH on any person in it

Burglary of a dwelling is treated as a distinct offence from burglary of any other type of building.  Most forms of burglary are triable either way, but if certain factors are present the offence will be triable only on indictment.  Sentencing

For burglary of a dwelling, the maximum sentence is 14 years’ custody when tried on indictment, or 6 months’ custody, or a fine, or both when tried summarily. For a defendant’s third domestic burglary, there is a 3-year minimum sentence.  For burglary of a non-dwelling, the maximum sentence is 10 years’ custody when tried on indictment, or 6 months’ custody, or a fine, or both when tried summarily.  Again, many factors are taken into account when sentencing and the expert representation is required at the hearing to ensure all mitigating factors are considered.

Aggravated Burglary

An offence of aggravated burglary is charged if the defendant commits burglary and at the time of doing so has with them any firearm, imitation firearm, weapon of offence or any explosive.  Aggravated burglary is triable only on indictment.


The maximum sentence is life imprisonment. In addition to the factors relating to burglary above, factors such as the nature of the weapon, and whether it was actually used and how will affect the final sentence.

If you have been charged with any of these offences you should seek expert legal help right away. Call us on 01254 505090.