Making off without payment.

Disappearing: leaving in a way that makes it difficult for the debtor to be traced.

This offence is defined in Section 3 of the Theft Act 1978. It is a triable either way offence.

According to the Sentencing Guidelines Council the maximum penalty when tried summarily is a Level 5 fine (maximum of £5,000.00) and/or 6 months and the maximum when tried on indictment is 2 years. Community orders are often used according to the seriousness of the offence.


Sec 3 of the Theft Act 1978 defines making off without payment as follows:


' A person who, knowing that payment on the spot for any goods supplied or service done is required or expected from him, dishonestly makes off without having paid as required or expected and will then with intent to avoid payment of the amount shall be guilty of an offence.'


Examples of the type of behaviour giving rise to this offence would be a diner in a restaurant who made off without paying for his meal or the passenger in a taxi who fails to pay a fare and the motorist who drives off after filling his tank with petrol without paying.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary 'makes off' means ' to depart suddenly'.


J R Spencer in the Criminal Law Review 1983 suggests that the term making off means ' disappearing: leaving in a way that makes it difficult for the debtor to be traced'.


'Eat and run' – the fine-dining crimewave - The Independent

Millionaire property broker dodged £28 cab fare by leaping out of cab

Bill-dodging hotel guest betrayed by a toothbrush



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