The stolen goods market in New South Wales, Australia

An analysis of disposal avenues and tactics

Richard J. Stevenson*, Lubica M V Forsythe, Don Weatherburn

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Lack of information about the stolen goods market has hampered its use by police as a means of controlling burglary rates. This study investigated how the market functions by interviewing 267 imprisoned burglars. It found that burglars used an average of four different methods of disposal. The most common was trading stolen goods directly for drugs - mainly heroin in adults and cannabis in juveniles. Other methods included selling to family/friends, fences, legitimate businesses, pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers. Disposal of stolen goods appeared efficient, profitable and low risk. Many goods were stolen on commission and disposed of quickly, often in under one hour from the burglary. Burglars obtained between 25-33 per cent of the new price for certain stolen goods, earned a median income of AUS$2,000 per week and gave little thought to being caught. Receivers stood to make considerable profits and were also unlikely to be apprehended. The implications of these data for controlling the flow of stolen goods are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-118
    Number of pages18
    JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001

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