Domestic burglary

Theft Act 1968. s.9
Effective from: This guideline applies to all offenders aged 18 and older, who are sentenced on or after 16 January 2012

This is a serious specified offence for the purposes of section 224 Criminal Justice Act 2003 if it was committed with intent to:

    1.  inflict grievous bodily harm on a person, or

    2. do unlawful damage to a building or anything in it.

Triable either way

Maximum when tried summarily: Level 5 fine and/or 26 weeks’ custody

Maximum when tried on indictment: 14 years’ custody

Offence range: Community order – 6 years’ custody

Where sentencing an offender for a qualifying third domestic burglary, the Court must apply Section 111 of the Powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 and impose a custodial term of at least three years, unless it is satisfied that there are particular circumstances which relate to any of the offences or to the offender which would make it unjust to do so.

This guideline applies to all offenders aged 18 and older, who are sentenced on or after 16 January 2012.  Starting point and category ranges apply to all offenders in all cases, irrespective of plea or previous convictions.

User guide for this offence


Step 1 – Determining the offence category

The court should determine the offence category using the table below.

Category 1

Greater harm and higher culpability

Category 2

Greater harm and lower culpability or lesser harm and higher culpability

Category 3

Lesser harm and lower culpability

The court should determine culpability and harm caused or intended, by reference only to the factors below, which comprise the principal factual elements of the offence. Where an offence does not fall squarely into a category, individual factors may require a degree of weighting before making an overall assessment and determining the appropriate offence category.

Factors indicating greater harm

  • Theft of/damage to property causing a significant degree of loss to the victim (whether economic, sentimental or personal value)
  • Soiling, ransacking or vandalism of property
  • Occupier at home (or returns home) while offender present
  • Trauma to the victim, beyond the normal inevitable consequence of intrusion and theft
  • Violence used or threatened against victim
  • Context of general public disorder

Factors indicating lesser harm

  • Nothing stolen or only property of very low value to the victim (whether economic, sentimental or personal)
  • Limited damage or disturbance to property

Factors indicating higher culpability

  • Victim or premises deliberately targeted (for example, due to vulnerability or hostility based on disability, race, sexual orientation)
  • A significant degree of planning or organisation
  • Knife or other weapon carried (where not charged separately)
  • Equipped for burglary (for example, implements carried and/or use of vehicle)
  • Member of a group or gang

Factors indicating lower culpability

  • Offence committed on impulse, with limited intrusion into property
  • Offender exploited by others
  • Mental disorder or learning disability, where linked to the commission of the offence