New theft offences guideline now available – 06 October 2015

A definitive sentencing guideline for theft offences was published on 6 October and the MCSG now contains these guidelines in a purple colour scheme prior to them coming into force in all courts in England and Wales on 1 February 2016. Once the new guidelines are in force, the colour scheme will go to blue and the old guidelines will be removed.

An update for the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines folder will be prepared before the new guidelines come into effect on 1 February, and will be made available on demand. In the meantime a PDF has been created of the definitive guideline that includes the MCSG page numbers, which can be used once the guidelines are in force.

The guideline covers a wide variety of types of theft such as pick-pocketing, shop theft, handling stolen goods, car theft, leaving a restaurant or petrol station without paying and stealing by employees or care workers. It also includes abstraction of electricity – that is, when meters are tampered with or electricity diverted from another property.

In detail, the offences covered are: theft from a shop, theft from the person, theft in breach of trust, theft by visitors to someone’s home, stealing cars, bicycles, handling stolen goods, making off without payment and abstraction of electricity.