Published by a LexisPSL Corporate Crime expert

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Robbery
  • Robbery
  • Elements of the offence of robbery
  • The requirement for stealing as part of a robbery offence
  • Sentences for robbery



Robbery is a theft offence, involving dishonesty but elevated also by the intention to use force.

Robbery can only be tried in the Crown Court on indictment and is categorised as a class 3 offence.

Elements of the offence of robbery

A person is guilty of robbery if:

  1. they steal something, and

  2. immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, they:

    1. use force on any person, or

    2. puts any person in fear of being subjected to force then and there

Force, or the threat of force, must be used 'immediately before or at the time' of the theft. There is no guidance as to what 'immediately before' means. If the force used or threatened is after the offence of theft has taken place there will be no robbery, however theft can be a continuing offence. See: R v Hale (1978) 68 Cr App Rep 415, [1979] Crim LR 596 (not reported by LexisNexis®).

The use or threat of force must be 'in order' to carry out the theft. Force used in any other context means the offence is not committed. The question to be asked is 'why has the force been used and/or threatened?' If the answer is anything other than 'to enable the defendant to commit theft', then there is no offence of robbery.

'Force' is given its ordinary meaning and is a

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