- Belonging to another
- Intention to permanently deprive
- Low value shop lifting
Start by writing down the the first part if the theft act from the legislation – as much as you know of s.1 (definition) and s.2 (dishonesty). It is written below the next video so once you’ve watched the video you can check and see how much you knew correctly.
Before we look at the theft legislation it is important to have a good understanding of how theft is viewed and the case law that underpins it. Watch this video before moving on.
Return to the legislation you wrote out at the beginning of the lesson and see if you were correct.
(1) A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly.
(1) A person’s appropriation of property belonging to another is not to be regarded as dishonest —
(a) if he appropriates the property in the belief that he has in law the right to deprive the other of it, on behalf of himself or of a third person; or
(b) if he appropriates the property in the belief that he would have the other’s consent if the other knew of the appropriation and the circumstances of it; or
(c) (except where the property came to him as trustee or personal representative) if he appropriates the property in the belief that the person to whom the property belongs cannot be discovered by taking reasonable steps.
Make a note of anything you missed or wrote incorrectly. These will become the areas you need to work on.
The theft video is long so we have included timestamps to help you navigate through.
- Dishonesty – 00:50
- Appropriation – 04:02
- Property – 08:46
- Belonging to another – 16:44
- Intention to permanently deprive – 22:21
- Low value shop lifting – 25:46
- Summary – 28:24
Next we will test your understanding of the legislation. Select True for each of the following that can be stolen.
A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.
All parts of the theft definition need to be fulfilled for the offence to be complete.
A person is not dishonest if he appropriates the property in the belief that
- (a) he has in law the right to deprive the other of it
- (b) he would have the other’s consent if the other knew of the appropriation and the circumstances of it; or
- (c) that the person to whom the property belongs cannot be discovered by taking reasonable steps.
And a person’s appropriation of property may not be dishonest if he is willing to pay for the property.
Appropriation occurs when someone assumes the right or rights of an owner, but appropriation itself is not theft. In order for there to be theft, the other elements of the offence (such asdishonesty) need to be present.
Appropriation envisages a physical act and property can be appropriated for the purposes of the theft act, even when the owner gives his consent or authority.
Appropriation can be a continuing event and the same property may be appropriated more than once, but once stolen, it cannot be stolen again by the same thief.Where property is transferred for value to a person acting in good faith it shall not amount to theft of the property.
“Property” includes money and all other property, real or personal, including things in action and other intangible property. So here we are talking about physical money (coins and notes), personal property such as laptops, furniture, cars etc, land, things in action such as the credit in a bank account or a patent and intangible property like software.
In terms of theft of land, trustees breach, strangers sever and tenants take fixtures and structures.
A person who picks any of the 4 Fs (fungi, flowers, fruit or foliage) from a plant growing wild on any land, does not steal what he picks, unless he “picks for profit”.
A person can steal a wild creature who is tamed or normally kept in captivity, or the carcass of any such creature, as well as anything that has been or is being reduced into possession and has not been lost or abandoned.
Certain things are not classed as property and therefore cannot be stolen such as confidential information, human bodies (unless they have been altered using human skill), and electricity.
Belonging to another
The legislation talks of “belonging to” not “owner of”. So if someone has possession or control of property then it can be stolen from them, regardless of whether they are an owner.
Where a person gets property by another’s mistake, and is under an obligation to restore it, an intention not to restore it shall be regarded as an intention to deprive that person of the property or proceeds.
Intention to permanently deprive
If a person treats property as his own to dispose of regardless of the other’s rights; or borrows or lends it for a period and in circumstances making it equivalent to an outright taking or disposal he is regarded as having the intention of permanently depriving the other of it. This is also the case where he parts with property under a condition as to its return which he may not be able to perform (e.g., pawning the property).
Low value shoplifting
“Low-value shoplifting” is an offence in circumstances where the value of the stolen goods does not exceed £200 and the value of the stolen goods is the price at which they were being offered for sale at the time of the offence. If the person steals multiple goods, then their prices are added together.
Any reference to low-value shoplifting includes aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of low-value shoplifting.
Low-value shoplifting is triable only summarily. But where a person accused of low-value shoplifting is aged 18 or over the court must give the person the opportunity of electing to be tried by the Crown Court for the offence.
Before completing the 20 questions below and rather than review the topics above any further at this point, move on to study another topic. This will give you time to find out how much you have actually remembered, and which areas have been forgotten.
Suggested topics –
- Criminal damage (specifically the definition of property)
- Aggravated burglary
Return to theft at a later date and write out the definition of theft (before reading anything else), then check them against the legislation above. Any areas of weakness need to be returned to after a further break. Remember to keep extending the gap between reviewing work. Spaced repetition is the key.
Now you have returned to theft after studying other topics, take the quiz to see how much information you have retained.
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Mrs Davis falls down the stairs in the night and is seriously injured. Her husband puts her in the car, with a view to attending hospital, but finds the car won’t start. He notices that his neighbour’s car is in the driveway with the keys in the ignition. He takes his neighbour’s car, believing he wouldn’t mind, and makes his way to hospital. Has he acted dishonestly?CorrectIncorrect
Whilst Jones is passing his neighbour’s house, he notices a splendid array of daffodils in the front garden and stops to commend the neighbour on the display. His neighbour explains that they have been coming up for years and that they are all growing wild. During the course of the night Jones enters the garden and picks about 40 daffs for his wife, who knows where they came from, and daughter who does not. Has an offence been committed?CorrectIncorrect
Smith and Jones are out on a shoot in the country, and manage between them to shoot 12 pheasants during the course of the day. At close of play they gather their kill but can only find 10 pheasants and abandon the search due to rain and a desire to get to the pub. 2 pheasants remain undiscovered in the field. The local poacher finds the pheasants and picks them up and sells both the next day to the local butcher. What offence, if any, has been committed?CorrectIncorrect
You attend the church fete on Sunday afternoon where there is a bring and buy sale. The ladies from the WI have a stall where they are selling their specialist jams, jarred the night before from wild strawberries picked fresh that morning in the National Trust woods. The jars are £2 each and the money is to go to the church roof restoration fund being organised by the vicar. What offence, if any, is being committed?CorrectIncorrect
Davies asks his friend Brown to look after his house whilst Davies is on holiday in France for a month. After Davies leaves, Brown takes his new Curved HD television to the pawn brokers where he borrows £500 on the strength of the TV which he intends to return before Davies returns from holiday. In the event the TV is returned before Davies returns from holiday. What offence, if any, is committed?CorrectIncorrect
Lord Haw-Haw is out shooting on his land and manages to shoot 8 pheasants. He finds 4 and his dogs pick up 1 other. He cannot find the other 3. He decides to look again after lunch. During lunch Bloggs picks up a pheasant and makes off. Having had too much to drink at lunch Haw-Haw decides to abandon the day in favour of bed. Bloggs returns and picks up the 2 remaining birds. At what point, if any, does Bloggs commit an offence?CorrectIncorrect
A council notice has been served on Smith to tidy up his front lawn which is wholly overgrown and a mess. He refuses. Whilst Smith is on holiday, his neighbour, Brown tidies the area, cuts the lawn and disposes of the clippings. He informs the council of what he has done. What offence, if any, has Brown committed?CorrectIncorrect
Police execute a warrant on Davidson’s home and find, amongst other things, a stolen car. His “defence” is that he bought it from a guy in a pub for £600 and produces a receipt. The car is worth about £500 and the receipt is indecipherable. Has Davidson stolen the car?CorrectIncorrect
Smith fills his car with petrol, fails to pay, and leaves the petrol station. He is stopped by police 20 minutes later and states that "Oh, I thought I paid, can I go back and pay for it now"? Has Smith committed an offence?CorrectIncorrect
Which of the following cannot be stolen?CorrectIncorrect
Bella asks her friend Fiona, to look after her apartment for a fortnight, whilst she is away. In her absence, Fiona pawns Bella's expensive clock. Fiona unexpectedly comes into some money and is able to redeem the clock before Bella returns. Has Fiona committed any offence under the Theft Act?CorrectIncorrect
Morris receives his pay advice slip and notices he's been overpaid by £200. Morris does nothing, and pays it into his savings account. Has Morris committed an offence against the Theft Act?CorrectIncorrect
Mark parks his pickup outside a DIY store. He returns an hour later and finds an identical pickup parked next to his with two assistants loading a sit-on mower in the flat bed of his pickup. He drives home, keeps the mower and uses it himself. Has Mark appropriated the property?CorrectIncorrect
Harry drops Peter off after a round of golf. Peter takes his clubs from the car boot leaving his putter behind by mistake. Harry notices this a few days later. Eventually Harry takes on the putter himself. Is this an appropriation?CorrectIncorrect
Mrs Wilson pays £400 to a travel agent as a deposit toward a cruise. The travel agent 'borrows' the money to pay immediate debts but is able to replace the money the following month. Mrs Wilson has no knowledge of the 'loan' and suffers no loss. Has the travel agent appropriated the money?CorrectIncorrect
Allan hands his car to a garage for an oil change. The foreman instructs a mechanic to change the oil. So far as 'belonging to another' is concerned, to whom does the car belong?CorrectIncorrect
Jeremy enters a shop looking for things to steal. He takes a £50 gift card, a necklace worth £49 and a camera worth £200 but in the sale and priced at £99. Does this constitute low value shoplifting?CorrectIncorrect
Can electricity be stolen?CorrectIncorrect
Larry, staggering from the pub, sees a window open in the local school and gains entry. He goes to sleep and wakes at 3am confused. He finds a 'phone and calls his pal for a lift. He climbs out of the school and makes off. What offences has Larry committed?CorrectIncorrect
Which of the following is not 'belonging to another'?CorrectIncorrect