Handling Stolen Goods

If you're under investigation for handling stolen goods, our criminal defence team can assist and advise you throughout all stages of an investigation.

More about Handling Stolen Goods

Forbes Solicitors criminal defence team are available 365 days a year, 24/7. Get in touch on 01772 220 022 or alternatively complete our online enquiry form below.

What is a handling stolen goods offence?

What is a handling stolen goods offence?

Offences involving the handling of stolen goods do not involve the original theft of the stolen items but do require involvement of the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to prove the client either knew or was suspicious that the items were stolen and either stores them, removes them, disposes of them or sells them on. You can also be found guilty of the offence if you assist in carrying out these tasks. Handling stolen property is also known as "fencing".

Section 34 of the Theft Act 1968 defines handling stolen good as "A person handles stolen good if (otherwise than in the course of the stealing) knowing or believing them to be stolen goods he dishonestly receives the goods, or dishonestly undertakes or assists in their retention, removal, disposal or realisation by or for the benefit of another person, or if he arranged to do so."

If the case goes to court, the prosecution must prove that you knew you were handling stolen goods. Matters relating to the handling of stolen goods can be very complex as they can often involve international elements and cross border issues if the goods have been illegally imported.

What happens during an investigation into handling stolen goods?

What happens during an investigation into handling stolen goods?

If you are under investigation for handling stolen goods, the police may want to conduct a search of your property or workplace obtaining a search warrant to do so. Police also have the power to search through any mobile device or computer you own to look for evidence of communication in relation to the stolen goods. In some cases, the prosecution may seek to obtain DNA or fingerprint evidence from the stolen goods to connect you with the crime. During an investigation, you may have your assets frozen and cash seized. It is important to seek legal advice as soon as you become aware you are under investigation.

What is the sentence for handling stolen goods?

What is the sentence for handling stolen goods?

Handling stolen goods is a very serious offence and if you are found guilty of handling stolen goods you could be facing a lengthy prison sentence of up to 14 years. If you are facing prosecution or being investigated for the handling of stolen goods, it is crucial you seek legal representation as soon as possible. If you are found guilty or plead guilty, the court may also impose an ancillary order.

When sentencing the court will take into consideration the value of the goods and the culpability of the individual involved. Culpability is determined by the extent to which the offence was planned and how the offence was carried out. If you have used a false identity or another person's identity this could result in a more serious sentence. The court will also consider any previous convictions, your character and level of remorse.

If you are guilty of handling stolen goods and plead guilty during the first stage of proceedings, you may receive a reduced sentence. The later a guilty plea is entered, the less likely you are to get a reduced sentence. If you are convicted for handling stolen property, this will go on your criminal record and could affect your future.

Police station representation for handling stolen goods

Police station representation for handling stolen goods

If you have been arrested or are under investigation for handling stolen goods, you will be asked to attend a police interview. It is important to have a solicitor present at any police interviews you attend in order protect your rights and achieve the most favourable outcome possible. During police interviews, they may not always disclose all of the evidence they have available to them. However, a solicitor can request all this evidence in order to build a strong case for your defence.

Why choose our handling stolen goods solicitors?

Our handling stolen property offence solicitors are dedicated to providing exceptional legal representation and achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the law, we have a proven track record of success in defending clients against these charges.

How can our handling stolen goods solicitors help?

How can our handling stolen goods solicitors help?

We are repeatedly asked to assist clients who have already, or at some point during the course of a handling stolen goods investigation or court proceedings, instructed solicitors in relation to theft. We often deal with such enquiries and advise as to the transfer of a case from another solicitor to Forbes Solicitors. It is important to be confident in your solicitor and we will do everything possible to assist with your case.

Public funding may be available for the offence of handling stolen goods. Obtaining expert advice at an early stage is crucial.

Our criminal defence team are often approached by individuals who have unknowingly bought goods and sold them on. We offer free initial advice, either over the phone, via email or face to face if required.

Handling Stolen Goods FAQs

What are the defences to handling stolen goods?

If you genuinely believed you was taking part in a legitimate business transaction and did not know the goods were stolen, this is a valid defence. Proving this in Court however can be quite difficult which is why it is vital to speak to a solicitor as soon as you become aware you are under investigation for the handling of stolen goods.

If you were in a situation where you felt forced to commit the crime due to fear of death or injury and you can prove this to the Court, this could also be a valid defence.

Our dedicated Crime team


Consultant, Crime

Daniel King

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Partner, Crime

Craig Liversidge


Partner, Crime

Craig MacKenzie

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