Personal theft

Are you worried your friend is involved in stealing?

If one of your friends is getting involved in something like stealing, whether they're leading it, or being pressured by other friends, you can help them before it goes too far. Your friend may not think what they're doing is that serious, but it could get them into trouble or even put them in danger.

Is it bullying?

Certain types of stealing, especially from people they know, might be part of a bigger issue: bullying. If you think that may be the case, take a look at our section about bullying. Either get the facts about bullying, or for more info on how you can actually help them visit ‘Are you worried your friend is a bully?’

What type of theft are they involved in?

It could be any one of these:

  • hiding someone's personal belongings
  • stealing from someone's bag, coat pockets or locker
  • ‘borrowing‘ something and then not giving it back
  • snatching things from people in the street or at school, such as mobile phones or MP3 players
  • threatening or demanding money
  • robbery - does the theft of property and involve the use of force (or threat of it)

What should you do?

Stealing from people is bad enough, but it can also lead to worse things and get your friend into a lot of trouble. The best thing you can do is try and talk to your friend about it. You could also try to get them to speak to:

  • their parents or a responsible adult
  • a professional in confidence at ChildLine on 0800 1111 - they won't have to give their name so if they're worried about owning up to what they've been doing, you can tell them not to worry

If you don't think they'll listen to you, don't risk it; talk to someone yourself.

If you think it's getting really bad, perhaps you feel you need to report it even if you know your friend will get into trouble. It's better they get into a bit of trouble now than it get worse, as they'll just get themselves into a lot more trouble later on:

  • Talk to a teacher at school - and remember, your teacher won't have to tell your friend it was you who reported them.
  • If it happened outside of school report it as a crime - you could go to your nearest police station or speak to your Safer Schools Officer or Safer Neighbourhoods Team.
  • If it's an emergency call 999
  • If you feel unable to talk to the police, you could call the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.
  • Or for more information visit the ‘Reporting crime’ section on the Metropolitan Police website or the ‘How to contact us’ page on this site.

Getting more help

For more information about personal theft visit our ‘Get the facts’ or ‘More help and advice’ pages.