Specialist London Solicitors in Handling Stolen Goods cases
At MFI Law Limited we have the expertise in representing clients charged with handling stolen goods. Our London Solicitors are available to represent clients at London Police Stations, Magistrates' and Crown Courts throughout the country.
Handling stolen goods is set out at Section 22 of the Theft Act 1968 which states:
- A person handles stolen goods 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 arranges to do so.
- A person guilty of handling stolen goods shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years
Sentencing guidelines for Handling Stolen Goods
Maximum Sentence: 14 years imprisonment
Relevant Case Law
R v Webbe and Others  1 Cr. App. R. (S) 22 (at 82):  EWCA Crim. 1217
- Property below £1,000 for own use. Fine or Community.
- Property over £1,000 for resale or £1,000 for personal use or presence of aggravating feature. Community Order – 12 weeks.
- Sophisticated offence or two or more aggravating features. 6 weeks imprisonment.
- Property under £100,000 or offence committed in the context of a business, or the offender is acting as an organiser or distributor of the proceeds of crime or whether the offender has made himself available to other criminals as willing to handle the proceeds of thefts or burglaries. 1–4 years
- Property over £100,000 or the offence is highly organised and bears the hallmarks of a professional commercial operation, a sentence of 4 years and upwards is likely to be appropriate, and it will be the higher where the source of the handled property is known by the handler to be a serious violent offence such as armed robbery. 4–14 years imprisonment.
Proceeds of major crime
R v Patel  6 Cr. App. R. (S)
Convicted of handling stolen goods. Offender received 660 cartons of cigarettes, worth £160,000, part of a larger consignment worth £1 million which had been stolen from a manufacturer's depot. Previous for drug smuggling. At the top end of the scale come the cases where the handler provides an outlet for the proceeds of very substantial thefts or robberies, where the advantages to the thief of having such an outlet are very great and where accordingly the receiver or handler is indirectly encouraging the thefts to take place, and where also the profits to the handler are likewise very great, as plainly they were going to be here had this criminal plan succeeded. 4 years imprisonment.
R v Hutchings and Others  15 Cr. App. R. (S) 498
Convicted of handling stolen property. The defendants handled bags stolen in a £65K armed post office van robbery. The defendants did not commission the offence and were not professional receivers. 7 years imprisonment
R v Shearer and Lynch  1 Cr. App. R. (S) 159
Pleaded guilty and convicted of handling stolen goods. The defendants were convicted of receiving large sums of money which had been stolen in a robbery of a security vehicle. Professional criminals. 7 and 8 years imprisonment.
R v Leitch and Others  8 Cr. App. R. (S) 290
Convicted or pleaded guilty to charges of theft, handling stolen goods, or conspiracy to handle stolen goods. The defendants were baggage handlers variously concerned in stealing blank traveller's cheques from mail bags at Heathrow Airport, and arranging for them to be encashed. The total loss was in excess of £1 million. Breach of trust in excess £100K,000 carefully planned. 7 to 4 years imprisonment.
R v Reader and Others  10 Cr. App. R. (S)
Convicted of conspiracy to handle stolen goods. The defendants were concerned in disposing of gold bullion worth £26 million from the Brink's Mat robbery. 14, 10 and 9 years imprisonment.
R v Amlani and Smith  16 Cr. App. R. (S)
Convicted of handling stolen goods. The second defendant received a quantity of stolen mobile telephones; the first defendant assisted in making arrangements for their sale. Property of considerable value, and the defendants are mature men of business experience, but not professional handlers of stolen goods. Deterrence. 21 months.
AG's Reference No. 70 of 1999 (R. v Rance)  2 Cr. App. R. (S)
Convicted of conspiracy to handle stolen goods and conspiracy to steal, pleaded guilty to taking part in the management of a company whilst and undischarged bankrupt, and of conspiracy to handle stolen goods. Over a period of some months the offender received a substantial quantity of stolen computer equipment from a variety of sources, and sold the stolen equipment through his business. The offender agreed to buy a lorry load of computers worth about £250,000, which were to be stolen by one of his suppliers. 12 months increased 30 months. Tariff after trial 4 years imprisonment.
AG's Reference Nos 110 and 111 of 2001 (David Craven Dillon and Peter Charles Dunlop)  2 Cr. App. R. (S) 121 (at 546),  EWCA Crim 886. Current Sentencing Practice B6-53A09
Pleaded guilty to conspiring to handle stolen cars and witness intimidation. The conspiracy was committed over a period of 15 months. The conspirators would go to car auctions sale rooms and the like making a note of the makes, models, registration numbers and colours of cars for sale and use these details to ring cars. 32 false details obtained. 89 cars ringed. Profit £200,000. 18 and 15 months increased 4 years and 2 years 8 months.
R v Okoro (7 Oct 1997 unreported)
Convicted of handling. The defendant, a shipping agent, arranged containers to transport 6 cars worth £200K to Ghana. 4 years imprisonment.
Handling proceeds of burglaries
R v Love and Others  1 Cr. App. R. (S)
Two defendants were convicted of two counts of handling stolen goods; the third pleaded guilty. The defendants were concerned in handling valuable artistic property stolen in two burglaries. The defendants were contacted by an undercover police officer who posed as an agent for a potential purchaser of the property. No evidence that these were isolated offences. 3 years 9 months and 3 years 3 months imprisonment.
R v Dixon  2 Cr. App. R. (S) 5 (at 18);  EWCA Crim. 2507
Pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods. Police officers executing a search warrant found antiques to the value of £255,000 which had been stolen eight days earlier in a burglary of a dwelling while the occupiers of the house were attending a funeral. The defendant claimed that he was looking after the goods for another person whom he declined to name. The defendant was sentenced on the basis that he had dishonestly undertaken or assisted in the retention of the goods. Not professional handlers unaware of the value of the antiques. 18 months imprisonment.
R v Chalcroft and Campbell  2 Cr. App. R. (S) 42 (at 172);  EWCA Crim. 2931
Pleaded guilty to attempting to handle stolen goods. The defendants agreed to buy stolen goods from an undercover police officer. The defendant believed that he was speaking to the burglar, discussed what should be burgled and anticipated a large profit. 10 months and 8 months imprisonment.
R v Gwyer  2 Cr. App. R. (S) 56 (at 246),  EWCA Crim. 102
Convicted on nine counts of handling stolen property. The defendant and his co-defendant were involved in handling of antiques worth £16K stolen in the course of residential burglaries, having been in possession of the property shortly after the burglaries. Professional fences but substantial delay before trial. 4 years imprisonment.