Whilst saving money is always tempting at Christmas, here's five reasons why you shouldn't buy and handle stolen goods.
Everyone loves a bargain at Christmas and it’s hardly surprising that people seek out the best deals at this time of year. Unfortunately people can also be lured by the temptation of cut price stolen items.
These goods include jewellery, alcohol, clothes, electronics, sports equipment and, well, anything you can think of, really. Once stolen, these items are quickly sold on using social media, online marketplaces, on the street and even door to door.
Sure, what’s the harm? You didn’t commit the crime and you’re getting a bargain. It’s just a victim-less crime anyway, right?
Not quite. Here’s five reasons why you shouldn’t be handling stolen goods.
You could be arrested.
This could surprise a lot of people, but handling stolen goods could leave you open to arrest, prosecution and a criminal record. You might think that sounds harsh, but handling stolen goods is against the law.
You may have paid what you consider a ‘fair’ price for stolen items but that doesn’t mean you’re the legal owner of them.
Whilst you haven’t committed the original crime, you’re still handling goods that have come into your hands through an act of dishonesty and you’re depriving the owner of what is rightfully theirs. Is it really worth the risk of a criminal record?
You’re contributing towards crime.
Purchasing stolen items may be saving you a few quid but, whilst this may be tempting, such a purchase supports organised crime.
There is no such thing as a victim-less crime and it can be extremely harmful to people and communities. It can be easy to give little thought to the consequences, but these purchases fund criminals and encourage them.
Stolen goods are often taken in a threatening or aggressive manner. Criminals will often go to great lengths to steal that desired item. This can have a significant impact on the victim, most of whom are simply doing a job or going about their business.
Stolen goods can be unsafe and can’t be returned
Due to the illegal nature of counterfeiting, production is unregulated, meaning that goods often do not meet safety standards.
Counterfeit electrical goods, medicines, cosmetics, alcohol and tobacco can also be particularly dangerous and in some cases fatal.
Only buying from reputable retailers guarantees customer protection when it comes to returns. When you do buy a stolen faulty good there is nothing you can do to get your money back.
In short, it’s far too risky.
You can have a clear conscience.
By handling stolen goods you’re contributing to the problem. The more people who buy stolen items, the bigger the market grows. This then encourages more thefts, robberies and housebreakings to occur as criminals believe they can profit even further.
As a law abiding citizen, do you really want that on your conscience? Think about the victim of the stolen good. Be it emotionally, financially or physically, someone has likely suffered for you to get that item.
Stolen goods are often taken from people’s houses that were intended to be given to a loved one as a gift. Items are also taken from businesses who have to put in insurance claims and raise their own prices due to lose of income.
People deserve to feel safe.
Stolen goods are often taken in a threatening or aggressive manner. Criminals will often go to great lengths to steal that desired item. This can have a great impact on the victim, most of whom are simply doing a job or going about their business.
Criminals will continue to behave in this way if there is a market for them to profit from. It’s time to shut that down to help ensure individuals and communities are safer.
What to do if you suspect items are stolen goods
The first step is, of course, to refrain from buying these items. Even one person can reduce the market and can still make a big difference.
If you see an item that you think has been stolen, or if you’ve unwittingly bought an item which fits this profile, report this to Police Scotland by calling 101 or to Crimestoppers.
If you see an item which is too good to be true, let’s be honest, it probably is and it’s really not worth the risk.
Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech-impaired callers can contact us via TextRelay on 1 800 1 101.
BSL users can contact us via contact SCOTLAND-BSL, the on-line British Sign Language interpreting service.
Find out more at the contact SCOTLAND BSL website; www.contactscotland-bsl.org