making off without payment

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Leaving without paying for goods or services received and with the intention of avoiding payment, when payment on the spot is expected. This is now an offence punishable by up to two years' imprisonment on indictment or six months' and/or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum on summary conviction. To obtain a conviction it must be proved that the person who made off knew that payment on the spot was expected (Theft Act 1978 s 3). The offence will usually cover such behaviour as walking out of a restaurant after having had a meal, without paying (even if there was originally no intention not to pay for the meal, and therefore no theft, and no deception when the meal was ordered; R v McDavitt [1981] Crim LR 843); taking a taxi and disappearing without paying; and collecting any items from a shop that has repaired or cleaned them, without paying. See also shoplifting.

Subjects: Law.

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