Handling Stolen Goods

Handling Stolen Goods, Receiving Stolen Goods, Converting Criminal Property

The offence of handling stolen goods is a serious dishonesty offence, created by section 22 of the Theft Act 1968.

If you are accused of handling stolen goods, the Prosecution must prove that:

  • You have received stolen goods, or
  • Assisted or agreed to assist in the retention of stolen goods, or
  • Disposed or agreed to dispose of stolen goods, and
  • You knew or believed that those goods were stolen

There is no need to prove whether you would have gained in any way by your alleged actions.

In many cases, people accused of handling stolen goods believe they may be guilty, simply because they were in possession of items which turned out to be stolen. A common instance is that a person buys a second-hand computer or television, and it later turns out that that item has been taken during a burglary. However, unless you know or believe that the items had been stolen, you have a defence in law and are not guilty.

Handling stolen goods is an either way offence, which means it can be dealt with by either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. The maximum sentence in the Magistrates Court is 6 months imprisonment, and the Crown Court can impose up to 14 years custody.

The Courts take such a serious position on the offence of handling stolen goods, that the sentence guidelines indicate that anyone with a record of dishonesty offences is at risk of a prison sentence.

If you have been accused of handling stolen goods, it is important that you have expert advice from a specialist criminal defence lawyer. Contact us to see if we can help you find an experienced solicitor or barrister for your case.