Robbery is an offence under s8 of the Theft Act 1968. It is an aggravated form of theft.

S8(1) Theft Act 1968: 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 in fear of being then and there subjected to force.

What are the Elements of Robbery?

1. It will need to be proved that the person stole. In s1 Theft Act 1968 the definition of steal is:

Dishonestly appropriate property belonging to another with the intention to permanently deprive.

All of these elements will need to be proved.

2. Immediately before or at the time of stealing

The force used must be immediately before or after stealing. If it is not, it’s not a robbery. However, the courts have taken the view that appropriation (an element of theft) is an ongoing act and therefore, a question to be left to the jury. (R v Hale (1979) 68 Cr. App. R. 415)

3. Use of force or threat of force

What amounts to force will be a question of fact for the jury to consider.

The force MUST be used in order to steal. So if a person hits another person and then decides to steal from them, this would not be a robbery – it would be a theft, and probably an assault.

Robbery is a serious offence. It is indictable only, meaning it can only be heard in the Crown Court. The maximum sentence for a robbery is life imprisonment.


These offences can be complicated and if you find yourself accused you should seek independent legal advice. Our solicitors regularly represent clients at the police station and court for offences ranging from shoplifting to complex frauds.

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