Section 7 Theft Act 1968 defines theft as an offence:

A person guilty of theft shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

However, it makes no mention of summary convictions, only convictions upon indictment. Would this not suggest that the offence is indictable only?

Yet the CPS clearly indicate that other than low value shoplifting it is triable either way.

What is the statutory basis for summary trials of theft being allowed?

  • 2
    When the 1968 was enacted, the statutory basis was section 29 of that Act, amending the Magistrates' Courts Act 1952 (to explain what happened before Jen's answer came into play). Commented Jan 2 at 9:28

1 Answer 1


See section 17 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980:

The offences listed in Schedule 1 to this Act shall be triable either way.

Schedule 1 of that Act, para. 28 lists:

All indictable offences under the Theft Act 1968 except: (a) robbery, aggravated burglary, blackmail and assault with intent to rob; (b) burglary comprising the commission of, or an intention to commit, an offence which is triable only on indictment; (c) burglary in a dwelling if any person in the dwelling was subjected to violence or the threat of violence.

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