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Armed Forces Act 2006

Section 4: Looting

51.Service personnel and civilians subject to service discipline may be guilty of looting in defined circumstances. The offence recognises that armed conflicts, natural disasters and other situations in which service personnel may be operating can leave people and property unprotected, and provide opportunities to steal or otherwise interfere with property. This section concerns looting in the following circumstances:

  • taking property from a person who has been killed, wounded, captured or detained during operations of HM Forces or allied forces, or searching such a person with the intention of taking property from him (subsection (1))

  • taking property which has been left behind as a result of the operations of HM Forces, or allied forces, or as a result of an event (such as social collapse or natural disaster) which has resulted in such forces being present (subsection (2))

  • taking any vehicle or other equipment abandoned by an enemy, unless this is done for the public service (for example taking ammunition or vehicles for use in combat) (subsection (3))

52.For those offences set out in subsections (1) and (2), the maximum penalty is life imprisonment. For an offence within subsection (3) the maximum sentence is seven years’ imprisonment.

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