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handling stolen goods


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Dishonestly receiving goods that one knows or believes to be stolen or undertaking, arranging, or assisting someone to retain, remove, or dispose of stolen goods (R v Woods [1960] 1 QB 447). Under the Theft Act 1968, this is an offence subject to a maximum sentence of 14 years' imprisonment. “Stolen goods” include not only goods that have been the subject of theft but also anything that has been obtained by blackmail or deception. The theft or other crime may have occurred at any time and anywhere in the world, provided the handling occurs in England or Wales. There is also a provision to extend the concept of stolen goods to the proceeds of their sale. Thus if A steals goods, sells them for £3,000, and gives part of the money to B, B is guilty of handling if he knows the money represents the proceeds of the sale of stolen goods. If A then buys a car with the rest of the £3,000 and C agrees to dispose of the car for A, knowing or believing that it was bought with the proceeds of sale of stolen goods, C will also be guilty of handling, since he has “undertaken to dispose of stolen goods”. The crime is therefore very widely defined; it also covers, for instance, forging or providing new documents and number plates for stolen cars and contacting and negotiating with dealers in stolen property (fences). See also dishonesty.

Subjects: Law.


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