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Burglary non-dwelling

Date Updated: January 2012

Title: Theft

Offence: Burglary non-dwelling

Legislation: S9 Theft Act 1998

Commencement Date:

Mode of Trial: Either Way

Statutory Limitations & Maximum Penalty: 10 years

Culpability & Harm

See Below

Aggravating & Mitigating Factors

See Below

Relevant Sentencing Guidelines (If Any)

Sentencing Council Guidance Issued 16/1/12

  • Step 1 Offence Category
  • Step 2 Starting Point and Range
  • Step 3 Factors which indicate a reduction
  • Step 4 Reduction for Guilty Plea
  • Step 5 Dangerousness
  • Step 6 Totality


Category 1 Greater harm and higher culpability

Category 2 Greater harm and lower culpability or lesser harm and higher culpability

Category 3 Lesser harm and lower culpability

Factors indicating greater harm:

  • Theft of/damage to property causing a significant degree of loss to the victim (whether economic, commercial or personal value)
  • Soiling, ransacking or vandalism of property
  • Victim on the premises (or returns) while offender present
  • Trauma to the victim, beyond the normal inevitable consequence of intrusion and theft
  • Violence used or threatened against victim
  • Context of general public disorder

Factors indicating lesser harm

  • Nothing stolen or only property of very low value to the victim (whether economic, sentimental or personal)
  • Limited damage or disturbance to property

Factors indicating higher culpability

  • Premises or victim deliberately targeted (to include pharmacy or doctor's surgery and targeting due to vulnerability of victim or hostility based on disability, race, sexual orientation and so forth)
  • A significant degree of planning or organisation
  • Knife or other weapon carried (where not charged separately)
  • Equipped for burglary (for example, implements carried and/or use of vehicle)
  • Member of a group or gang

Factors indicating lower culpability

  • Offence committed on impulse, with limited intrusion into property
  • Offender exploited by others
  • Mental disorder or learning disability, where linked to the commission of the offence

Offence Category / Range

(Applicable to all offenders) 

Category 1

Starting Point: 2 years' custody 

Range: 1 - 5 years' custody

Category 2        

Starting Point: 18 weeks' custody 

Range: Low Level CO - 51 weeks' custody

Category 3        

Starting Point: Medium Level CO 

Range: Band B Fine - 18 weeks' custody

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors

Statutory aggravating factors:

  • Previous convictions, having regard to

a) the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence; and

b) the time that has elapsed since the conviction.

  • Offence committed whilst on bail

Other aggravating factors include:

  • Offence committed at night, particularly where staff present or likely to be present
  • Abuse of a position of trust
  • Gratuitous degradation of the victim
  • Any steps taken to prevent the victim reporting the incident or obtaining assistance and/or from assisting or supporting the prosecution
  • Established evidence of community impact
  • Commission of offence whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to comply with current court orders
  • Offence committed whilst on licence
  • Offences Taken Into Consideration (TICs)

Factors reducing seriousness or reflecting personal mitigation:

  • Offender has made voluntary reparation to the victim
  • Subordinate role in a group or gang
  • No previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions
  • Remorse
  • Good character and/or exemplary conduct
  • Determination, and/or demonstration of steps taken to address addiction or offending behaviour
  • Serious medical conditions requiring urgent, intensive or long-term treatment
  • Age and/or lack of maturity where it affects the responsibility of the offender
  • Lapse of time since the offence where this is not the fault of the offender
  • Mental disorder or learning disability, where not linked to the commission of the offence
  • Sole or primary carer for dependent relatives

Relevant Sentencing Case Law

Public Disorder.

R v Blackshaw & Others [2011] EWCA Crim 2312 / [R v Carter first instance]
Burglary of shops or offices committed in the course of  a large scale public disorder. Burglar who breaks into premises starting point 4-7 years. Burglar who enters after others have broken in starting point 2-5 years.

Commercial Burglary.

R. v Byrne and others (1995) 16 Cr.App.R.(S.) 140
The defendants pleaded guilty to or were convicted of theft. The defendants at night stole a JCB digger from a construction site and used it to remove an automated cash machine from the wall of a building society branch office. "Ram Raiding". Composite offence involving theft of the vehicle and its use. Planned targeting of premise aimed at defeating even the best of security.. Serious damage and an element of breach of the peace. Principal planner 5 years, others 3 years 3 months.

R. v Richardson and Brown [1998] 2 Cr.App.R.(S.) 87
pleaded guilty to burglary. The defendants were involved in a raid on a bank branch carried out by eight men who attempted to ram the wall of the bank and remove the cash dispenser with a JCB digger which had been stolen, along with other vehicles, for the purpose. A real differential should in our judgment be maintained between even domestic burglaries of some gravity and determined commercial burglary of this sort on a bank, with vehicles and equipment such as were used in this offence. 5 years.

R. v Andrews and Jones (1995) 16 Cr.App.R.(S.) 695
Pleaded guilty to burglary. The defendants were employed as security guards at a shopping centre; during a weekend they entered one of the shops through a sky light and stole goods worth £5,250. The second defendant pleaded guilty to further count of burglary of a shop on an earlier occasion. Beyond usual breach of trust. 9 months and 15 months.


R. v Cole [1996] 1 Cr.App.R.(S.) 193
Convicted of burglary. The defendant was concerned in a burglary at a restaurant in which £6,500 stolen, having travelled several hundred miles to do so. On license for robbery. Pre-planned and targeted offence. 5 years.

R. v Anson [1999] 1 Cr.App.R.(S.) 331
Pleaded guilty to burglary. The defendant burgled a shop, disconnecting the alarm, forcing several doors and stealing goods to the value of £11,913. Professional commercial burglary. 2 and a half years.

A-G's Reference No.54 of 2005 (Keith Mann) [2006] 1 Cr.App.R.(S.)
Convicted of conspiracy to burgle. The offender was an animal rights activist. He entered the premises of a laboratory and removed laboratory records and 700 mice which were kept in the laboratory. The defendant was arrested two days later and most of the mice were returned to the laboratory. Carefully planned and sophisticated offence involving economic damage on a legitimate business enterprise. The offender was the prime mover and recruited others who were less sophisticated in order to carry out the plan. Previous for arson. . 6 months increased 12 month. Tariff 18 months.

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