Theft offences

View related documents on theft offences here.

The definitive guideline on theft offences was issued on 6 October 2015 and came into force on 1 February 2016.

The consultation on the draft guideline on theft offences was open from 3 April to 26 June 2014.

There were 92 responses received.

There are guidelines for offences included within the following sections:

  • General theft
  • Theft from a shop or stall
  • Handling stolen goods
  • Going equipped for theft and burglary
  • Abstracting electricity
  • Making off without payment.

The table below sets out some examples of changes made to the guidelines following our consultation. This “We asked, you said…” format suits some examples better than others and it would not be possible to represent some of the more complex points in this format. For a full and detailed explanation of the consultation process, please read the Consultation Response document.

  We asked: You said: We did:  
Issue 1 – is it clear how additional harm caused by theft offences should be considered within the guidelines? – the decision to consider the wider impact of thefts on victims is right, but the process to assess harm could be clearer – removed the old complex assessment of harm which involved two steps and replaced it with a clearer, combined assessment of harm
Issue 2 – whether the guidelines gave enough guidance to sentencers – guidance could be expanded – the definitive guideline prompts sentencers to consider alcohol and mental health treatment requirements in appropriate cases in addition to the guidance which already encouraged sentencers to consider a drug rehabilitation requirement for those with a drug addition
Issue 3 – about the wording of culpability factors – some of the wording such as ‘opportunistic’ offences was ambiguous – revised some of the ambiguous wording: ‘opportunistic’ offences are now described as offences involving ‘little or no planning’