Alice sneaks into a concert venue and enjoys the show.

Bob sneaks into a spa to enjoy a jacuzzi and steam bath.

Charlotte sneaks past the usher into a cinema and watches a film.

Have each of these committed theft of services or merely a civil trespass?

  • Perhaps they have committed both.
    – phoog
    Aug 1, 2023 at 0:25

1 Answer 1


They each committed both the civil tort of trespass (Wikipedia) and the criminal offence of Making off without payment contrary to s3 Theft Act 1978 (legislation; CPS guidance).

A person might have explicit or implied permission to enter a cinema building, but the person doesn't have licence to do anything they want whatsoever in the building. When they enter an area without permission, or they exceed their licence, they commit trespass. If they watch a film and leave with no intention to pay, then they commit s3 Theft.

  • Even if tickets are only available for sale online in advance, rather than paid for “on the spot”? Jul 31, 2023 at 23:24
  • 2
    Case law says there is no particular geographical location for 'on the spot', only the requirement to pay.
    – Lag
    Jul 31, 2023 at 23:38
  • What about a temporal location like if tickets either may be purchased up to a month before the performance, or if they can only be purchased until 8 hours before it? Jul 31, 2023 at 23:44
  • 1
    @Seekinganswers I have edited my answer.
    – Lag
    Aug 1, 2023 at 11:40

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