GQS Solicitors

Robbery/Armed Robbery

An offence of robbery is committed where there is a theft and immediately before, or at the time of the theft, violence or the threat of violence is used. It is also an offence to assault someone with intent to rob them.

Robbery is what is known as an indictable only offence which means it can only be heard in the crown court (although the first appearance will still take place in the magistrates’ court). The maximum sentence for robbery is life imprisonment and the majority of people convicted of robbery receive a prison sentence.


Most robbery offences are street robberies in UK where such cases usually depend up evidence of identification either directly, by CCTV or forensic evidence, such as DNA or fingerprints. Identification evidence is recognised by the law to be potentially suspect and Court have to warnings about relying solely upon identification evidence. 

Other types of robberies may be the robbery of a small business such as a petrol station or robbery of commercial property such as a security van or bank.

Advice at the interview stage is essential to best defend these cases.

Robbery Sentences

Armed robbery is the most serious of the offences and therefore usually attracts the more serious penalties. There are 3 levels of seriousness when deciding on sentencing, these are: -

  • Level 1 - robbery with minimal force
  • Level 2 - involves the use of a weapon
  • Level 3 - involves the use of a weapon and use of force (a lot) and/or serious injury. 

A number of factors such as items taken, clothing (i.e. use of a disguise) and if the victim(s) were vulnerable will be taken into account upon sentencing.

A robbery offence must be heard in the Crown Court and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. It is therefore important to get specialist advice from an experienced lawyer.

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