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Burglary, Robbery, Theft (& Shoplifting), Handling Stolen Goods

Theft including shoplifting, burglary, robbery and handling of stolen goods are all classed as ‘dishonesty’ offences in English law. These are all serious crimes and expert legal advice should always be taken if you are arrested on suspicion of any of these offences.

At Geoff White solicitors we deal with dishonesty offences on a regular basis and are highly experienced in defending this type of case.

Legal Advice and assistance in a Police Station is free of charge and will be paid for by Legal Aid. We recommend that you say nothing to the Police until you have spoken directly with us.

We have a 24 hour emergency advice line so that we can respond immediately to your situation. Our 24 hour number is 07850 012 366.

This page gives an outline of how dishonesty offences are treated under English law. Please contact us if you have been arrested or charged with an offence.

Theft & Shoplifting

Theft is the deliberate taking of property belonging to another, with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

Theft offences include theft from another person, theft from shop (shoplifting) and breach of trust. 

This offence can be dealt with in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court, depending on the facts of the case, and can carry a prison sentence of up to 14 years.


Robbery is the deliberate taking of property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it, but with the additional element of violence or the threat of violence.

Robbery offences can range from street robbery or mugging, through to organised robberies of homes or commercial premises, all the way up to armed robbery of banks, post offices, etc.

All types of robbery are considered to be very serious offences and they can carry prison sentences up to life imprisonment.

When assessing the seriousness of a robbery, many factors will be taken into account such as the value of the theft and the amount (if any) of violence involved. The violence element is usually the most important factor that will influence the eventual sentence.


Burglary is where someone enters a building as a trespasser with the intent to committing an offence. Most commonly that offence will be theft, but may also be assault, criminal damage or rape.

Burglary of a house or dwelling is judged by the Courts to be more serious that burglary of a commercial building.

Burglary is an offence that requires intention and often dishonesty; importantly it also has the additional distinction of trespass. 

Handling Stolen Goods

The offence of handling stolen goods is often applied to prosecutions of people who have knowingly bought stolen goods, or to catch ‘fences’ (people who buy goods from thieves and sell them on to the public).

The penalties for handling stolen goods are similar to those for theft and can be anything up to 14 years imprisonment.

We have a great deal of experience in defending clients charged with all of the above dishonesty offences.

Please contact us for more information.

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