What Are The Punishments For Burglary?

The main deterrent for burglars should be the prospect of imprisonment. The loss of one’s liberty is usually enough to scare a person into living their lives within the law. However, people commit burglary and theft for all sorts of reasons. Easy money, drug addiction, poverty, greed, there is no one definitive motive why people risk their freedom to steal someone’s belongings.

What Does The Law Say?

When it comes to burglary and theft the law has different categories and sentences to judge and punish the perpetrators. It all depends on the nature of the theft, ie, was it someone’s first time, was a weapon involved, was force used, where high value goods stolen, was violence and harm committed to the victims etc.

See here for How sentencing and rehabilitation works.

Theft From a Dwelling

According to the Theft Act of 1968 the maximum sentence for theft from a dwelling is 7 years. This depends on what was taken and whether any violence was used. A ‘dwelling’ basically means a building where people live, basically your house or flat. If a person burgles you and has a history of drug and  alcohol abuse then a community order will be put in place to try to rehabilitate them.

Aggravated Burglary

This term refers to a person who commits a burglary with the use of a weapon. Depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the crime a person can receive a life sentence for committing aggravated burglary. To establish the offence of aggravated burglary the defendant must have brought the weapon with them or had it at the time of the burglary – for instance, they could have broken in and then used a knife from your kitchen to threaten you with.

Theft From a Shop

Like a theft from a dwelling the maximum sentence for theft from a shop is 7 years. Harm plays a big factor in sentencing burglars. For instance, harm can mean damage to property, emotional distress, effect on business etc. Financial and personal harm are put into three categories when it comes to theft from a shop or stall.

  • Category 1: High value goods stolen (above £1,000) or medium value with significant additional harm to the victim.
  • Category 2: Medium value goods stolen (£200 to £1,000) and no significant additional harm orLow value with significant additional harm to the victim.
  • Category 3: Low value goods stolen (up to £200) and little or no significant additional harm to the victim.


No amount of guideline sentencing or punishment will repair the stress and heartache to those who have been the victim of crime. Unfortunately, in the three years to 2018 burglary reports in England and Wales rose by 6% while criminal charges for burglary fell by 33%. It affects everyone, even us here at Home Secure. One of the worst performing areas for catching burglars is Liverpool Merseyside, where we are situated.

The police force has received many cuts during this period and as long as you reinforce your property with the necessary security measures you will always be one step ahead of the burglars regardless of what the sentencing laws are.

How often do police catch burglars?



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