St Helena Police are currently conducting an education and awareness programme for the local community. Each week a different topic will be aired on local radio stations, issued via information releases and posted on Social Media.

This week’s topic is Theft:   

The Theft Act 1968 Section 1 states ‘a person is guilty of theft if they dishonestly appropriate property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it’.

The dishonest taking of property owned by another person with the intention of keeping the property for your own or another’s use is an offence for which you can be arrested. You could be charged to court and depending on the circumstances you could face a hearing at Magistrates Court or the Supreme Court. The maximum sentence for a theft related crime is seven years.

We all know it is wrong to steal, for example to take goods from a shop without paying for it or to take a wallet or a purse that has been left on a table. But, there are more subtle offences that we sometimes regard as good fortune than theft.

If for example you pay for goods at a shop and you pay with a five pound note but you are given change as if you have paid with a 10 pound note,  leaving without saying anything to the cashier means that you have in fact committed a theft.

If you find a 10 pound note on the floor in the Bar whilst on a night out, you know the 10 pound note is not yours yet you proceed to buy your drinks with that 10 pound note you have just committed the act of theft, unless you have taken reasonable steps to ascertain who the owner is.

A lot of thefts that occur are not planned, they are often crimes of opportunity. For example you enter the supermarket and leave your shopping bag at the front of the store which has your wallet or purse sticking out of the top, a person walks in and notices the opportunity and seizes the chance of extra money. You leave a mobile phone on a chair or table to use the public facilities leaving it unguarded, someone wanting a newer phone might seize this opportunity.

The thefts dealt with by St Helena Police are generally avoidable – mobile phone taken from a bag left unattended, valuable metal chain left unattended on the quayside for a period of a few weeks – but some thefts are also planned, such as clothing stolen from a store. If you are out with someone who commits a theft and you are aware of what they are doing you could find yourself arrested and interviewed for theft and may end up with a day in court. Also if you buy items which you know or believe to be stolen you commit an offence of receiving stolen goods. Even if someone leaves items at your house which you know to be stolen you could be guilty of handling stolen goods.

So please keep your valuables secure and do not offer someone the temptation, yes St Helena has a low crime rate but do not give people the opportunity to take property that is yours. If you witness a theft or are offered property you believe to be stolen please stand up for your community and call the Police so we can investigate and deal with the matter.

#StHelena #StHelenaPolice #Theft

1 June 2021

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470