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Crime is the term used to describe any activity which breaks the law. There are many different types of crime. Below is a just a small, example list of different types of crime with a brief definition each:


Fraud is linked to deception and forgery and includes faking something such as a signature, passport or credit card and using it as if it were genuine. This can include providing false information or using a fake ID.

Theft and Robbery

Theft is taking something that you know doesn’t belong to you

It covers everything from shoplifting and stealing cars to picking up and keeping items that people leave around such as bags and mobile phones. It is a crime to keep or sell something that has been stolen. This is called handling stolen goods

When force is used to steal this is robbery and it is a more serious crime than theft and will normally be tried in a Crown Court. For both theft and robbery just acting as a lookout or being part of a group that carries out the crime will be enough to get you prosecuted, even if you didn’t actually do the stealing.

Vandalism and Graffiti

Vandalism is the crime of wrecking, destroying or defacing property that is not yours.

The activities of smashing windows in bus shelters, painting on houses and walls and kicking in post boxes not only makes the property look ugly but makes people feel angry and makes neighborhoods look rundown

In recent years graffiti has been recognised as an art form and people can now accept that when it is controlled graffiti art can be interesting and in some cases beautiful art. However this does not mean that you can graffiti other people’s property and it is against the law for shopkeepers to sell spray paint to under 16 year olds.

If you like Graffiti Art, why not see if you’re local YEPS programme or school runs their activity as part of free, after-school activities in the evening Extended Provision.  For more information please click here:

Joy riding

Joy riding or auto theft is taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

This activity is extremely dangerous and if you are caught you will be fined or given a prison sentence. You will not only have a criminal record but you will also lose the respect of those around you as you will not only risk serious injury to yourself, but to other road users, and any passengers that you have in the car. These passengers are also committing an offence by accepting a ride in a stolen car

There is no joy in joy riding, getting caught will give you a criminal record but you could end up killing yourself or someone else. Knowing that you have knocked someone down and injured or killed them is a very difficult thing to live with.

Weapons and Firearms

Any item that can cause harm can be regarded as a weapon so these items can range from guns, knives, swords and air guns to scissors, tweezers, and even toothpicks.


A firearm is a weapon that shoots a bullet, pellet or air missile. Even a pea shooter can cause serious damage

  • It is a crime to have a gun to help you commit a crime
  • It doesn’t have to be a real gun. Toy or replica guns still count if it can be proved that you meant people to think that it was a real gun
  • If the police have a reason to think that you are carrying a gun they are allowed to stop and search you – see section on Stop and Search
  • In accordance with the Firearms Acts Regulations 2010 a person who is under 18 years of age may not purchase or hire any firearms, shot guns or ammunition
  • You need a firearms certificate issued by the police to possess, buy or acquire a firearm or shotgun. You must also have a certificate to buy ammunition
  • There are age restrictions on shotgun and firearms certificates, purchasing and hiring
  • There are firearms that are used for sport. These include shot guns, rifles and airguns
  • These sports enable you to use firearms in controlled and safe environments, so if you are interested in guns think about joining a gun club or taking up clay pigeon shooting

For more information about the age restrictions on firearms and certificates please visit


  • It is illegal for anyone under 18 years of age to buy a knife of any kind (including cutlery and kitchen knives)
  • It is illegal to carry a knife in public without good reason – unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long or less, e.g. a Swiss Army knife. All other knives and swords are illegal
  • It is illegal to use any knife in a threatening way, even a Swiss Army knife
  • The maximum penalty for carrying a knife is 4 years in prison and a fine of £5,000
  • If you are interested in swords, consider fencing or kendo which will teach you to use a sword and to fight in a safe and controlled environment

Crime committed by young people

Young people from the age of 14 years old who commit a crime will be dealt with by the Youth Justice Team, although children from the age of 10 years old can be given Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) for causing harassment, alarm or distress to a person.

In order to reduce youth crime and prevent offending by young people and children the government established in 1998 the Crime and Disorder Act and Youth Justice System.

As a result, each Local Authority has a Youth Offending Team that works with young people aged 10 to 18 years old. These involve the police working with Social Services, Probation, Education and Health departments in the delivery of the youth justice services, the prevention of offending and ensuring that there are effective alternatives for young people from offending.

You can find your local Youth Offending Team’s address and contact details here.

Punishments and sentencing

If you are found guilty of committing a crime then you could have your case tried in a Youth Court, a Magistrates Court, or in the most serious cases, Crown Court.

If you are found guilty of your crime then you can be punished in a variety of ways including fines and with prison. For more information on this you can visit the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary and the Ministry of Justice.