Personal theft

Personal theft and the law

Whether it’s a coat, CD, trainers, a mobile phone or any other gadget; if an item that you own has been deliberately taken and stolen then a criminal offence has been committed. However, if your teacher has confiscated your property, this is not theft and should not be reported. If it’s happened in school, you should report it to a teacher or a police officer. If it happened outside of your school you should tell an adult you trust and also report it to the police.

As the police, we can help you:

  • submit a crime report which you are likely to need if you're going to claim on insurance for the missing item
  • point you towards any support you may need (especially if you've been hurt in the incident or it's part of a wider problem of bullying)

We will:

  • do our best to get your property back to you
  • do everything we can to catch the person responsible

There are many ways you can help to prevent your belongings being stolen:

  • Register your mobile phone, MP3 and other property with serial numbers at
  • Keep your phone, MP3 and other valuable items separate from the rest of your belongings so you can find it and keep track of it easily.
  • Keep a record of your phone's IMEI number, if it has one - just type *#06# (star, hash, 06, hash) into your phone and it will display a fifteen digit number.
  • Keep a record of the model and serial numbers of your other property
  • Keep your belongings out of sight, so you are less likely to be robbed.
  • Mark your belongings clearly; it makes them less of a target as they'll be harder for thieves to sell or pass on.
  • Jackets and bags left on the backs of chairs can make easy targets - be careful where you leave them.
  • Be mindful of who is around you at all times.
  • If you are unlucky and do get robbed, don't fight back; it's safer to give them what they want.

What happens to people who steal?

If a young person is caught stealing it is likely that they will receive a criminal record. This can affect their future in different ways - they might not:

  • be accepted into a college or university
  • get a job
  • be allowed to travel to some countries, like the United States of America
Personal theft

If you have been a victim of theft or robbery or if you know someone who has been, there's plenty of help and support available. Visit our page ‘More help and advice’.