Burglary under Theft Act 1968

Burglary is a criminal offence that involves unlawfully entering a building or premises with the intention of committing a crime inside. Sections 9 and 10 of the Theft Act 1968 set out the legal framework of this offence, including its definition and sentencing, in England and Wales.

Section 9(1)(a): Burglary with Intent to Commit another Offence
A person is guilty of burglary if he enters any building or part of a building as a trespasser and with intent to steal anything in the building or part of it, inflict on any person any grievous bodily harm, or do unlawful damage to the building or anything in it.

Section 9(1)(b): Burglary with Commission of another Offence
A person is guilty of burglary if having entered any building or part of a building as a trespasser he steals or attempts to steal anything in the building or that part of it or inflicts or attempts to inflict on any person therein any grievous bodily harm.

Section 9(4): A Dwelling
A building and a building which is a dwelling shall apply also to an inhabited vehicle or vessel, and shall apply to any such vehicle or vessel at times when the person having a habitation in it is not there as well as at times when he is.

Section 9(3): Penalty for Burglary
A person guilty of burglary shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding, where the offence was committed in respect of a building or part of a building which is a dwelling, fourteen years; in any other case, ten years.

Section 10(1): Aggravated Burglary
A person is guilty of aggravated burglary if he commits any burglary and at the time has with him any firearm or imitation firearm, any weapon of offence, or any explosive.

Section 10(1)(a): Firearm
Firearm includes an airgun or air pistol, and imitation firearm means anything which has the appearance of being a firearm, whether capable of being discharged or not.

Section 10(1)(b): Weapon of Offence
Weapon of offence means any article made or adapted for use for causing injury to or incapacitating a person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use.

Section 10(1)(c): Explosive
Explosive means any article manufactured for the purpose of producing a practical effect by explosion, or intended by the person having it with him for that purpose.

Section 10(2): Penalty for Aggravated Burglary
A person guilty of aggravated burglary shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for life.

The key points and interpretation of the Sections 9 and 10 of the Theft Act 1968 are as follows:

Entry: There must be an act of entering a building or part of a building. Partial entry is sufficient. Even if a person puts any part of his body inside the building, it can be considered an entry. It is not necessary for the whole body to enter the building.

Trespasser: The person entering the building must be a trespasser, meaning he does not have the legal right or a lawful excuse to enter. This can include breaking into a property, using deception to gain entry, or remaining in a building without consent.

Intent: The trespasser is guilty of burglary even if he intended to commit theft, cause grievous bodily harm, or commit criminal damage, but without actual commission.

Theft or harm: The trespasser is guilty of burglary if he committed theft, caused or attempted to cause grievous bodily harm, or committed criminal damage.

Penalty: Upon conviction on indictment, the maximum imprisonment term for burglary is fourteen years if the offence was committed in relation to a dwelling, and ten years for offences committed in any other type of building.

Sentencing: The court has discretion in sentencing, and the actual penalties imposed can vary depending on factors such as the nature of the burglary, the seriousness of the offence, the defendant's criminal history, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

Dwelling: The offence of burglary is divided into two categories: burglary in a dwelling and burglary in a building other than a dwelling. The distinction is significant as it affects the potential penalties for the offence. Whether a place is a dwelling depends on the specific facts of each case. Factors like habitability, duration of residence, personal belongings, and others can contribute to determining whether a place is a dwelling.

The laws and specific provisions related to burglary can be complex, and it is advisable to seek legal advice from a qualified professional for accurate information and guidance specific to the circumstances.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham
ESSEC Business School

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.