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Definition of burglary according to the Theft Act 1986.

First published
Residential burglary

Section 9 of the Theft Act 1968 defines burglary as either:

  • entering a building or part of a building as a trespasser with intent to commit theft, grievous bodily harm, or criminal damage
  • stealing, or inflicting or attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm, having entered a building or part of a building as a trespasser

When that building is someone’s home – their private living accommodation – it is referred to as residential burglary of a home. This is an invasion of a victim’s personal space, causing trauma and undermining an individual’s sense of safety and security.

Home Office Crime Recording Rules classification of burglary has been amended to make it easier to accurately record residential burglary. Classification is in two parts.

  1. Residential burglary of a home
  2. Residential burglary of unconnected building

Residential burglary of a home

This includes all buildings that:

  • form part of the home (the victim’s living space) 
  • are attached directly to and provide access to the home via a connecting door

It also includes other premises used for residential purposes, such as houseboats, residential care homes and hostels. 

Residential burglary of an unconnected building

This classification includes residential buildings within the boundary of a victim’s property that either:

  • do not form part of the home and are not attached directly to the home
  • are attached directly to the home, but there is no access via a connecting door

Where an unconnected building within the boundary is used solely for business purposes, this should be recorded as burglary – business and community.

This practice guide relates to residential burglary of the home and unconnected buildings.

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