Property crimes can be committed in many different ways. These include theft by shoplifting, theft by housebreaking, theft by opening lock fast places, reset of stolen goods and theft by finding. Property crimes accounted for over half of all crimes committed in Scotland in 2012/2013.
Theft and reset are offences at common law. In summary prosecutions offences can attract a maximum of 12 months imprisonment and 5 years imprisonment on indictment in the Sheriff Court. At High Court level there is no maximum sentence and cases are dealt with on the particular circumstances. The majority of property crime are however dealt with by way of summary prosecution. It is only where the items stolen are of significant value or there is considerable public interest in a prosecution that theft charges will be prosecuted under solemn procedure. A recent example is the prosecution of certain individuals for theft from the Clutha bar in Glasgow in the wake of the tragic helicopter crash in November 2013.
Theft prosecutions inevitably involve complex evidential considerations. It is often the case that those accused of theft will not have been found at the scene of the crime. The Crown often rely on circumstantial evidence and the doctrine of recent possession of stolen goods. In many shoplifting cases CCTV evidence is heavily relied upon by the prosecution and requires to be scrutinised.
It is essential that you instruct an experienced solicitor if charged with any property crime. Our solicitors have many years experience in dealing with all types of property crime and are expertly qualified to advise you of your rights. If you find yourself accused of a property crime please contact us immediately in order that we may best represent your interests.