Handling Stolen Goods
If you are accused of handling stolen goods, the police will have to prove that you either:
- Have received items of property that you know or believe have been stolen, or
- Have helped someone keep, sell, or dispose of property that you know or believe has been stolen.
Handling stolen goods is an either way offence, which means that it can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. Unless the value of the stolen property is particularly high or there is another serious element to the case, it is common for the Magistrates to agree to deal with the case. This does not take away your right to elect for jury trial in the Crown Court.
Police often suspect people of stolen goods if they are investigating another crime, and are suspicious why a suspect has more luxury or electronic items than they could reasonably afford. This can lead to a long investigation while the police try to prove that the items are stolen, and the items will be kept by the police while they make these enquiries.