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Conspiracy to handle stolen goods is an offence that can come with a stiff punishment. This article provides detailed guidance on the typical sentencing for this offence.

What is the sentence for Conspiracy to handle stolen goods in 2024?

A conspiracy to handle stolen goods in an offence in UK law. The crime itself is based on the making of an agreement with one or more people to handle stolen goods, rather than handling them.

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It’s the role of the prosecution to prove beyond doubt that the offence happened. They must show that the accused were acting together with an intent to handle stolen goods. The agreement of the accused was expressed or implied or assumed; the prosecution has direct or circumstantial evidence that the intention to handle the stolen goods was there.

If you are found guilty of the offence of conspiracy to handle stolen goods, you are likely to be handed a prison sentence if you’re found to be guilty and convicted.

To provide you with legal guidance and answers to your questions, we have listed out some of the most frequently asked questions with their answers. It’s also important to note that engaging a competent solicitor who has experience of defending conspiracy to handle stolen goods cases may be able to get any sentence reduced or even quashed.

Have you been charged or arrested for conspiracy to handle stolen goods? 

The success of your case will depend on whether you have a competent and experienced solicitor working on your behalf. The conspiracy to handle stolen goods case can be very complicated, and it can mean inspecting a lot of evidence from the prosecution.

Right from the initial police station interview, you need a decent solicitor to provide you with guidance on what you should and shouldn’t say when being interviewed. It’s easy to say something that can make matters worse for you. However, an experienced solicitor will know how to handle the interview so that you are in the best possible position for any potential court case.

Of course, being under investigation by the police for any offence is very challenging. It’s frightening, and it will make you and your loved ones feel anxious and concerned. If you’re given a stiff prison sentence, you will no longer be in a position to provide them with an income for bills, rent or mortgage payments.

What type of actions are involved in a conspiracy to handle stolen goods?

Examples of acts that could result in a conspiracy to handle stolen goods are:

  • Planning to hide stolen goods until they are less hot so that they can be sold on online marketplaces such as eBay or Facebook without concern.
  • Arranging a plan to transport stolen goods to a place where they can be passed to a third party
  • Planning to handle money gained from the sale of stolen goods

What is the average sentence for conspiracy to handle stolen goods?  

Conspiracy to handle stolen goods is taken seriously by the courts. Your sentence could range from community service to several years in prison. It depends on what happened, what your involvement was and the value of the stolen goods.

How does a court decide on the seriousness of the conspiracy to handle stolen goods offence for sentencing purposes?

The information that judges receive with regards to sentencing are only guidelines, and each case will be looked at individually. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the conspiracy to handle stolen goods sentence?

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

The following are some of the other factors considered when the Court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:

  • Any previous conviction
  • Your level of remorse
  • Your level of cooperation with the investigation
  • Whether the activity you took part in was originally legitimate
  • Your reputation / good character
  • Whether you have any serious medical conditions that require long term, urgent or intensive treatment
  • Whether you have a learning disability or a mental disorder
  • Whether you are the sole or primary carer for related dependents

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for conspiracy to handle stolen goods with a guilty plea?

In recent years, several changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.

If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure; although the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge who has discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.

After these times there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten percent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.

If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s important for the solicitor to regularly inform the Court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

What are some of the other consequences of the conspiracy to handle stolen goods offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of a conspiracy to handle stolen goods offence. These are extra elements of punishment that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that can affect a dependent’s finances, your property or business or financial activity.

Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of conspiracy to handle stolen goods include:

  • Compensation for loss
  • Restraint orders
  • Reparation orders
  • Being on licence
  • Confiscation orders

As part of your investigation, you may also have your assets frozen with the possibility of having cash or other assets seized.

In addition, the Court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work done in obtaining enough evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

How sentences can be added to national information databases

There are several national databases that hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to Court and you are convicted of conspiracy to handle stolen goods, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something very serious to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases.

Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence is never spent Sentence is never spent
Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years Sentence length 7 years Sentence length 3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months) Sentence length +4 years Sentence length +2 years
Prison sentences of less than 6 months Sentence length + 2 years Sentence length +18 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

With over thirty years of experience, our criminal solicitors are experts at defending conspiracy to handle stolen goods cases. We know how challenging a court case of this nature can be, and we provide a dedicated team to our clients.

In addition to having some of the brightest minds in our field, our solicitors have a broad network of legal professionals including some of the best Barristers, QCs, forensic analysts and expert witnesses. Our team can examine and inspect any evidence that the prosecution produces and can often find holes in it that will weaken their case.

Arrest & Interview

If the police arrest you, it’s vital to the success of your conspiracy to handle stolen goods case, that you take on the legal services of an experienced criminal solicitor. If you do not, you can put yourself at risk for being handed the maximum sentence and punishment.

Being interviewed by the police can mean having to answers a long list of very probing and intrusive questions. If you don’t answer these in a particular manner, you could put yourself into deeper water.

The purpose of having a criminal solicitor with you during a police interview is so that the solicitor can demand to see any further evidence that the police have on you that they intend to use to argue their case in Court. If you don’t know about all the evidence they have on you, then you won’t be prepared to make a decent argument to influence the outcome of the trial.

Our solicitors know what to look for, where to find weaknesses in any argument that the prosecution put forward and attack every case in a pro-active manner form the front foot.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

We are offering a thirty-minute no obligation free consultation to discuss your conspiracy to handle stolen goods case with an experienced lawyer. During the meeting, you can ask questions and seek guidance on what you should do next for you to get a more favourable outcome. We can share with you the result of cases just like yours that we have defended.

You can complete our contact form to make an appointment that is face to face, by telephone or on a video call. Alternatively, call us on 0208 888 5225 or in the case of an emergency call us on 07980 000 076. We can represent you in Court and look into securing your legal aid.

If for some reason you don’t qualify for legal aid, we offer very competitive prices and don’t add on any surprise charges, without discussing it with you first, where possible.

Get in touch with us now for conspiracy to handle stolen goods legal help.



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