Legislation: Theft Act 1968 s9

Definition: There are five ways of committing this offence:

Entering a building as a trespasser with intent to:


Inflict really serious harm on someone

Commit criminal damage

Having entered a building as a trespasser:


Inflicting really serious harm on someone

Explanation: In practice it is rare for it to be charged in relation to causing harm or criminal damage. A trespasser is someone who is entering without the consent of the owner. Whether something is a building is a question of fact for the jury.

Mode of trial: Either way UNLESS : it is an allegation relating to entering with intent really serious harm, or it is a ‘third strike’ or it is an allegation of a domestic burglary where anyone in the dwelling was subjected to violence or the threat of violence.

Maximum sentence: 14 years if the building is a domestic building, 10 years otherwise.

Examples: If someone goes into a building where they have a permission to enter and goes in ‘in excess’ of their permission, then they will be guilty of burglary. For this reason someone who goes into a shop to steal will always be guilty of burglary as whilst the shop lets anyone enter, they would obviously not let someone in if they knew that they were going to steal. In practice however, shoplifting is generally charged as theft.

CPS Guidance : Found here.

Aggravated Burglary

Legislation: Theft Act 1968 s10

Definition: Someone who commits a burglary and, when committing it, has a firearm or a ‘weapon of offence’ with them will be guilty of aggravated burglary.

Explanation: The individual must have the weapon when committing the offence. For this reason, if they are charged with ‘entering a building with intent to steal’ then they must have the weapon with them when going into the building. A ‘weapon of offence’ is anything that is made or adapted for use for causing injury or incapacitating someone, or intended to be used for that.

Mode of trial: Indictable only.

Maximum sentence: Life imprisonment

Examples: Someone who breaks in to a house with a screwdriver and carries it with them won’t be guilty of aggravated burglary as that is not a weapon of offence. If they carried it with them to break in AND to cause injury if confronted by the houseowner, then they would be.

CPS Guidance : Found here.

1 thought on “Burglary

  1. Pingback: Spot the Offence! | UK Criminal Law Blog

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