This article is intended to provide information on long-term trends alongside additional data on the characteristics of victims and nature of crime. It may not include the most recent published data, which can be found in the latest quarterly Crime in England and Wales release.Back to table of contents
The basic definition of theft is laid out in section 1 of the Theft Act 1968:
 A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly.
 It is immaterial whether the appropriation is made with a view to gain, or is made for the thief’s own benefit.
The offence of taking a motor vehicle or other conveyance without authority is laid out in section 12 of the Theft Act 1968:
 Subject to subsections  and , a person shall be guilty of an offence if, without having the consent of the owner or other lawful authority, he takes any conveyance for his own or another’s use or, knowing that any conveyance has been taken without such authority, drives it or allows himself to be carried in or on it.
 A person guilty of an offence under subsection  shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both.
 Subsection  shall not apply in relation to pedal cycles; but, subject to subsection , a person who, without having the consent of the owner or other lawful authority, takes a pedal cycle for his own or another’s use, or rides a pedal cycle knowing it to have been taken without such authority, shall on summary conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
 A person does not commit an offence under this section by anything done in the belief that he has lawful authority to do it or that he would have the owner’s consent if the owner knew of his doing it and the circumstances of it.
 For purposes of this section:
(a) “conveyance” means any conveyance constructed or adapted for the carriage of a person or persons whether by land, water or air, except that it does not include a conveyance constructed or adapted for use only under the control of a person not carried in or on it, and “drive” shall be construed accordingly
(b) “owner”, in relation to a conveyance which is the subject of a hiring agreement or hire-purchase agreement, means the person in possession of the conveyance under that agreement
The offence of aggravated vehicle-taking is laid out in section 12 A of the Theft Act 1968:
 Subject to subsection , a person is guilty of aggravated taking of a vehicle if:
(a) he commits an offence under section 12(1) (in this section referred to as a “basic offence”) in relation to a mechanically propelled vehicle
(b) it is proved that, at any time after the vehicle was unlawfully taken (whether by him or another) and before it was recovered, the vehicle was driven, or injury or damage was caused, in one or more of the circumstances set out in paragraphs (a) to (d) of subsection .
 The circumstances referred to in subsection , (b) are:
(a) that the vehicle was driven dangerously on a road or other public place
(b) that, owing to the driving of the vehicle, an accident occurred by which injury was caused to any person
(c) that, owing to the driving of the vehicle, an accident occurred by which damage was caused to any property, other than the vehicle
(d) that damage was caused to the vehicle
 A person is not guilty of an offence under this section if he proves that, as regards any such proven driving, injury or damage as is referred to in subsection , (b), either:
(a) the driving, accident or damage referred to in subsection  occurred before he committed the basic offence
(b) he was neither in nor on nor in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle when that driving, accident or damage occurred
 A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or, if it is proved that, in circumstances falling within subsection , (b), the accident caused the death of the person concerned, 14 years.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Article
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7592 8695