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Conspiracy to rob, commit burglary or steal

Robbery, burglary and theft are often terms that are used interchangeably but in the eyes of the law each one has a specific definition. Regardless of the technicalities of each crime, being accused of conspiring to commit any of them can land a person in serious trouble. Below is a brief breakdown of what each offence means:

  • Stealing / Theft – This is when an offender unlawfully “appropriates” (or in simple terms takes a possession of) property with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of it. Theft is different to robbery as no force or threat of force is required when the property is taken.

    For example, an offender could steal a bike he finds chained up on a street whilst the owner is inside a coffee shop.

    The maximum sentence for theft is 7 years imprisonment. 

  • Robbery – This is when an offender steals something from a victim by using force or the threat of force intimidation. The legal definition is “A person is guilty of robbery if he steals, and immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, he uses force on any person or puts or seeks to put any person of being then and there subjected to force” A typical example of robbery includes the so called street mugging, “give me your wallet or I’ll use the knife”. But also includes going into a bank with a firearm and threatening staff for cash. .


The maximum sentence for robbery is life imprisonment. 

  • Burglary – This is when an offender enters a building or part of a building with the intention to steal, inflict bodily harm or do unlawful damage. The main difference between burglary and stealing is the act of trespassing or illegally entering a premises to steal something.

    The maximum sentence for burglary is 14 years imprisonment

Conspiracy to steal 

Conspiracy to steel is a serious offence which will be dealt with in the Crown Court. 

Like other  conspiracy offences, it carries the same sentence as the actual crime. This means even planning a theft could lead to a substantial prison  sentence for the offenders. The maximum sentence is one of 7 years.

Conspiracy cases are complex and evidence must be considered carefully to see if the prosecution can prove that an agreement to steal had been made. It is wise to seek the advice of experienced criminal defence solicitors who are experts in conspiracy to steal cases. By seeking professional help, you give yourself the best chance to present a strong defence.     

Conspiracy to rob 

Conspiring to rob someone is a very serious offence which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. 

Conspiracy to rob can cover everything from a street mugging of a person for their phone to bank or cash in transit robbery. Robbery is viewed as far more serious crime than theft due to the use of force or violence. The prosecution will often rely of digital phone evidence between conspirators to establish a link. But also other forms of evidence such as:

  • ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition – to establish the movements of persons in vehicle.
  • Cell site evidence – also establishes the location of an individuals phone when an event such as a call or text occurs.
  • Forensic evidence – such as DNA or fingerprints to link individuals to a scene or recovered property.

If you are accused of conspiring to rob your best chance of presenting a strong defence is by seeking the advice of expert criminal defence lawyers who can analyse and test the evidence to establish if the prosecution are able to prove the case.   

Conspiracy to Commit Burglary

The most common type of conspiracy to commit burglary is usually where individuals agree to enter a building as trespassers with the intention to steal from within. In order to be guilty of burglary or conspiracy to commit burglary you don’t actually have to enter the premises at all. For example, where one of the conspirators waits outside acting as a lookout or getaway driver. Even though they didn’t enter the building themselves they could be found guilty of a burglary or conspiracy to burgle.

As with all conspiracy cases the evidence is usually complex. Investigators will use various means to try to prove that the agreement took place for example by linking multiple offences committed by the same group. 

Typically they will involve:

  • Digital phone evidence  – to try establishing a link between defendants.
  • ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition – to establish the movements of vehicles.
  • Cell site evidence – also establishes the location of an individual’s phone when an event such as a call or text occurs.
  • Forensic evidence – such as DNA or fingerprints to link individuals to a scene or recovered property.

In cases like this it is important  to seek the advice of criminal defence solicitors who are experts in conspiracy to commit burglary cases and have experience of dealing with cases involving this type of evidence.

To speak to a member of the Burton Copeland team for advice on a conspiracy to steal, rob or burgle offence you can either call us on 0161 827 9500 , or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.

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