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Any lawyers ... AIBU that this random question is now bugging me?

11 replies

Magnanimouse · 11/09/2022 21:49

I know I'm being unreasonable disappearing down this rabbit hole (so you don't need to tell me!). But a question popped into my mind today and I can't get rid of it! Any lawyers or great thinkers out there want to put me out of my misery. It is truly random ...

If individual A leaves donations outside a charity shop when it is closed, that is flytipping and they can be prosecuted for it.

If someone then comes along and takes those donations from outside the shop, that is theft, and they can be prosecuted for that.

Both statements are true (I've just checked) but how can both be true at the same time? If the stuff outside the shop is "flytipping" then surely it's an act of citizenship to take it away ...


OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

9 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
bunnypenny · 11/09/2022 21:52

Because the crimes relate to the person doing the dropping and the person doing the taking away.

in your mind the crime is linked to the donations, not the people.

Twawmyarse · 11/09/2022 21:53

I often leave donations outside the shops as all the ones around here have double yellow lines outside making it difficult to to drop stuff during the day. I don't personally give a crap if someone takes the stuff I've left - I don't want it so who cares?

Sorry - I know that doesn't answer your question 😂

FuncaMunca · 11/09/2022 21:57

Out of interest what makes you say that taking items that have been left on the pavement outside a charity shop is theft?

rcat74 · 11/09/2022 21:58

It is theft from the donor of the goods not the shop, but if the donor complains they could be prosecuted for fly tipping so are unlikely to do so. It is theft because the goods still belong to the donor until accepted by the shop.

FuncaMunca · 11/09/2022 21:59

I guess I'm just wondering if the charity shop actually owns the goods at that point. Dunno!

RunningFromInsanity · 11/09/2022 22:01

Also, if you picked up the (fly tipped) donations and moved then to another location, you could also be done for fly tipping.

rcat74 · 11/09/2022 22:02

They don’t. See the case of Ricketts in 2010. I don’t know if there have been any updates since then.

Ohdearthatwasntgreatwasit · 11/09/2022 22:02

Intent is a really important element of the criminal law in general. On the whole, if you genuinely meant well, the law will recognise that. (Lots of notable exceptions though to be fair)

The offence of theft requires dishonesty in the taking of the item, and the bar to prove this very high.

Im not as familiar with the offence of fly tipping, but I expect there is a requirement for it to have been done with criminal/dishonest intent.

Magnanimouse · 11/09/2022 22:15

Ok, the comments about people and intent clarify.

Asking because I walked past a charity shop today and saw a book sticking out of a bag outside which I wanted to read. Was debating whether to take & it drop a couple of pound coins in the bag. I left it there more because was aware of the law and also didn't want to be seen rummaging through charity shop donations ...

OP posts:
Ohdearthatwasntgreatwasit · 11/09/2022 22:21

Theft requires dishonesty, so if you genuinely thought you had right on your side in taking something, then you should be fine in that situation.

So in this case, you felt you’d paid a reasonable sum for the book, and given the charity would have wanted the book sold anyway (hence you were ultimately doing them a favour) you’d have a good defence to an accusation of theft.

Ohdearthatwasntgreatwasit · 11/09/2022 22:23

If you fancy a rabbit hole to disappear down for the evening, have a look at the concepts of actus reus and mens rea.

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