Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001

Exceptions to theft.

5.—(1) Where property or a right or interest in property is or purports to be transferred for value to a person acting in good faith, no later assumption by that person of rights which that person believes himself or herself to be acquiring shall, by reason of any defect in the transferor's title, amount to theft of the property.

(2) A person cannot steal land, or things forming part of land and severed from it by or under his or her directions, except where the person—

(a) being a trustee, personal representative or other person authorised by power of attorney or as liquidator of a company or otherwise to sell or dispose of land owned by another, appropriates the land or anything forming part of it by dealing with it in breach of the confidence reposed in him or her, or

(b) not being in possession of the land, appropriates anything forming part of the land by severing it or causing it to be severed, or after it has been severed, or

(c) being in possession of the land under a tenancy or licence, appropriates the whole or part of any fixture or structure let or licensed to be used with the land.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)

(a) “land” does not include incorporeal hereditaments,

“tenancy” means a tenancy for years or any less period and includes an agreement for such a tenancy,

“licence” includes an agreement for a licence,


(b) a person who after the expiration of a tenancy or licence remains in possession of land shall be treated as having possession under the tenancy or licence, and “let” and “licensed” shall be construed accordingly.

(4) A person who picks mushrooms or any other fungus growing wild on any land, or who picks flowers, fruit or foliage from a plant (including any shrub or tree) growing wild on any land, does not (although not in possession of the land) steal what is picked, unless he or she does it for reward or for sale or other commercial purpose.

(5) Wild creatures, tamed or untamed, shall be regarded as property; but a person cannot steal a wild creature not tamed or ordinarily kept in captivity, or the carcase of any such creature, unless it has been reduced into possession by or on behalf of another person and possession of it has not since been lost or abandoned, or another person is in course of reducing it into possession.