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5.1 Property Offences - Introduction

Welcome to the sixth topic in this module guide - Property Offences! Property Offences are a category of crime that include, amongst others, theft, burglary, robbery, handling stolen goods, making off without payment, criminal damage and arson. Perpetrators who commit property offences’ primary purpose is to either unjustly enrich themselves or to acquire property or something else that would be of a benefit to them.

Property offences are riven into two categories: stolen property and destroyed property. Stolen property refers to offences such as theft and robbery, whereas destroyed property refers to offences such as arson and criminal damage. Property offences are often high in volume, with perpetrators targeting items such as such as cash, electronics and jewellery. These items are usually valuable and easy for a perpetrator to remove, conceal and re-sell.

Goals for this section:

  • To understand the actus reus and mens rea components of theft, burglary, robbery, handling stolen goods, making off without payment, criminal damage and arson.
  • To appreciate the charging and sentencing guidelines for each of the offences mentioned above.

Objectives for this section:

  • To appreciate the delineation between the offence of burglary under section 9(1)(a) and section 9(1)(b) of the Theft Act 1968.
  • To be able to identify the distinctions between simple criminal damage under section 1(1), aggravated criminal damage under section 1(2) and criminal damage by arson under section 1(3) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971; and to appreciate when the defence of lawful excuse can be established under section 5(2).
  • To be able to analyse and evaluate the nuances of all the property offences, as required in an examination.

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