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Understanding the Consequences: Employee Theft Sentencing Guidelines

By Darragh Timlin on April 23rd, 2024

When employees commit theft from their workplace, many wonder what sentences or fines await if prosecuted and found guilty in court. For employers weighing pursuing criminal charges against staff, knowing potential outcomes helps guide decisions.

We summarise key aspects around UK theft sentencing guidelines.

Factors That Can Affect Sentencing in Employee Theft Cases

When deciding on a sentence for an employee convicted of theft, courts consider various factors that can either mitigate or aggravate the severity of the punishment. These factors are outlined in sentencing guidelines.

Factors for a More Lenient Sentence

Mitigating factors that may lead to a more lenient sentence include:

  1. The employee admitted guilt and showed genuine remorse for their actions.
  2. The stolen items were of low value.
  3. The employee had a positive work history and good character references.

Factors for a More Harsher Sentence

On the other hand, aggravating factors that may result in a harsher sentence include:

  1. The theft was carefully planned, or the employee abused a senior position within the company.
  2. The theft caused significant financial losses or damage to the company’s reputation.
  3. The employee did not cooperate with the investigation or tried to obstruct it.

Taking these factors into account, a one-time theft of low-value items by an employee with an otherwise clean record may result in a more lenient sentence, such as probation, a fine, or community service. 

However, a systematic theft scheme carried out by a high-level executive, causing substantial losses, is likely to lead to a much more severe sentence, potentially involving several years in prison.

Repaying Stolen Money and Assets

After an employee is convicted of theft, there are some ways that the stolen money or assets can be returned to the company:


The court may order the convicted employee to repay the stolen money to the company over time. This is often done through wage deductions, managed by probation services.

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

This law allows the government to seize assets that were obtained through criminal activity. If an employee used stolen money to buy things like property, cars, or investments, the court can order these assets to be taken and sold, with the money going back to the company as compensation.

For example, if an employee stole a large sum of money and used it to buy an expensive car and a house, the court might order these items to be seized and sold. The money from the sale would then be given to the company to help make up for the losses caused by the theft.

Get Employee Theft Insurance

Theft from an employer is a serious offence that can result in a criminal conviction and a lengthy sentence. If you are an employer dealing with employee theft, it is important to take the matter seriously and consider your options for protecting your business.

One way to protect your company against the financial impact of employee theft is through specialised insurance coverage. Employee Theft Insurance can provide a vital safety net, helping to recoup losses and minimise the damage caused by these incidents.

At Brisco Business, our expert team is dedicated to helping businesses like yours navigate these difficult situations and secure the protection you need to move forward with confidence. 

Our tailored Employee Theft Insurance policies are designed to provide comprehensive coverage for a wide range of scenarios, from opportunistic one-time thefts to systematic, large-scale fraud.

Get in touch with Brisco Business

Don’t let a case of theft derail your company’s success. Compare quotes with Brisco Business today to learn more about our specialised insurance solutions and to get a customised quote for your unique needs. 

With the right coverage in place, you can protect your business, no matter what challenges come your way.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Brisco Business, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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