Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

pp 1627-1637

Fencing/Receiving Stolen Goods

  • Mike SuttonAffiliated withSchool of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University Email author 


The Industrial Revolution, beginning in Britain and gathering momentum in the eighteenth Century, enabled widespread ownership of desirable, mass produced, identical goods. This changed the characteristics of general theft whereby it switched from being motivated predominantly by a desire to take often unique property for personal consumption to stealing to sell standardized goods once more destined for the personal enjoyment of others.

While weight and portability of items is considered by thieves (Felson and Clarke 1998), this most usually happens, at least where prolific thieves are concerned, only if they believe the goods will be saleable once removed (Sutton 1995); at which time, considerations regarding weight and portability, and even danger of removal, will be balanced against prices. Therefore, the issue of demand and supply by theft is important because the most valid predictor of items that most thieves will choose to steal is whether or not they believe they ...

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