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In another question Alice abandoned her pram without permission and Bob cut its chain to remove it from his property by dumping it on the side of the street. By doing this, did Bob (or Tesco) commit criminal damage by destroying Alice’s chain?

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    It's impossible not to spot trends with you Tyler. Really, this is another example of you spamming this site with extremely similar questions. Is there some reason that this doesn't fit with your other question about Alice and her pram? Are the chain and pram reasonably considered to have differing legal standards applied to them such that they deserve separate questions? Commented Feb 1 at 20:18
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    I hope you don't get a response that is correct for prams but incorrect for bikes.
    – Lag
    Commented Feb 1 at 21:29
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    A wild guess that you're more interested in locking up bikes than prams.
    – Lag
    Commented Feb 1 at 22:41
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    But most of your nuances are minor enough to seemingly not affect the legality of the situation. (Throw away a pram, vs throw away a phone, vs don't throw away but damage a chain...) Broadly, in each case the rightful owner is denied the use of a fully functional item, whether via theft, disposal, laziness, or willful damage would seem largely irrelevant. If you think the subtleties are important I would simply request that you explain why. That's all. Commented Feb 1 at 22:49
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    Anyway, there are zillions of property damage/liability type questions already on this site, I recommend that you do some research first and then ask a meaningful question if you are truly confused about something. Commented Feb 1 at 22:49

1 Answer 1

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For a charge of criminal damage, the prosecution would have to prove (a) Bob damaged or destroyed the chain and (b) that he didn't have a lawful excuse.

S1 Criminal Damage Act 1971:

(1) A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence. ...

"Without lawful excuse" is defined at section 5.

Bob might claim he honestly believed his property, property right or interest was in immediate need of protection and that cutting the chain was a necessary and reasonable means of protection. It is immaterial whether the belief is justified or not if it is honestly held.

Bob might have evidence about damage done by chains to his fence.

(Of course, there might not be any evidence it was Bob.)

If it's a railway station's fence then Railway Byelaw 14(4)(2) provides for the removal of the pram:

without prejudice to Byelaw 14(4)(i), any motor vehicle, bicycle or other conveyance used, left or placed in breach of byelaw 14(1) to 14(3) may be clamped, removed, and stored, by or under the direction of an operator or authorised person

(In Scotland this must be supervised by a constable.)

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