Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1981 c. 45


Forgery and CounterfeitingAct 1981

1981 CHAPTER 45

An Act to make fresh provision for England and Wales and Northern Ireland with respect to forgery and kindred offences; to make fresh provision for Great Britain and Northern Ireland with respect to the counterfeiting of notes and coins and kindred offences; to amend the penalties for offences under section 63 of the Post Office Act 1953; and for connected purposes.

[27th July 1981]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Forgery and Kindred Offences

Part I

Forgery and Kindred Offences

Offences

Offences

S-1 The offence of forgery.

1 The offence of forgery.

A person is guilty of forgery if he makes a false instrument, with the intention that he or another shall use it to induce somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person's prejudice.

S-2 The offence of copying a false instrument.

2 The offence of copying a false instrument.

It is an offence for a person to make a copy of an instrument which is, and which he knows or believes to be, a false instrument, with the intention that he or another shall use it to induce somebody to accept it as a copy of a genuine instrument, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person's prejudice.

S-3 The offence of using a false instrument.

3 The offence of using a false instrument.

It is an offence for a person to use an instrument which is, and which he knows or believes to be, false, with the intention of inducing somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person's prejudice.

S-4 The offence of using a copy of a false instrument.

4 The offence of using a copy of a false instrument.

It is an offence for a person to use a copy of an instrument which is, and which he knows or believes to be, a false instrument, with the intention of inducing somebody to accept it as a copy of a genuine instrument, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person's prejudice.

S-5 Offences relating to money orders share certificates passports, etc.

5 Offences relating to money orders share certificates passports, etc.

(1) It is an offence for a person to have in his custody or under his control an instrument to which this section applies which is, and which he knows or believes to be, false, with the intention that he or another shall use it to induce somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person's prejudice.

(2) It is an offence for a person to have in his custody or under his control, without lawful authority or excuse, an instrument to which this section applies which is, and which he knows or believes to be, false.

(3) It is an offence for a person to make or to have in his custody or under his control a machine or implement, or paper or any other material, which to his knowledge is or has been specially designed or adapted for the making of an instrument to which this section applies, with the intention that he or another shall make an instrument to which this section applies which is false and that he or another shall use the instrument to induce somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person's prejudice.

(4) It is an offence for a person to make or to have in his custody or under his control any such machine, implement, paper or material, without lawful authority or excuse.

(5) The instruments to which this section applies are—

(a ) money orders;

(b ) postal orders;

(c ) United Kingdom postage stamps;

(d ) Inland Revenue stamps;

(e ) share certificates;

(f ) passports and documents which can be used instead of passports;

(g ) cheques;

(h ) travellers' cheques;

(i ) cheque cards;

(j ) credit cards;

(k ) certified copies relating to an entry in a register of births, adoptions, marriages or deaths and issued by the Registrar General, the Registrar General for Northern Ireland, a registration officer or a person lawfully authorised to register marriages; and

(l ) certificates relating to entries in such registers.

(6) In subsection (5) (e ) above ‘share certificate’ means an instrument entitling or evidencing the title of a person to a share or interest—

(a ) in any public stock, annuity, fund or debt of any government or state, including a state which forms part of another state; or

(b ) in any stock, fund or debt of a body (whether corporate or unincorporated) established in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.

Penalties etc.

Penalties etc.

S-6 Penalties for offences under Part I.

6 Penalties for offences under Part I.

(1) A person guilty of an offence under this Part of this Act shall be liable on summary conviction—

(a ) to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum; or

(b ) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months; or

(c ) to both.

(2) A person guilty of an offence to which this subsection applies shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

(3) The offences to which subsection (2) above applies are offences under the following provisions of this Part of this Act—

(a ) section 1;

(b ) section 2;

(c ) section 3;

(d ) section 4;

(e ) section 5(1); and

(f ) section 5(3).

(4) A person guilty of an offence under section 5(2) or (4) above shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

(5) In this section ‘statutory maximum’, in relation to a fine on summary conviction, means the prescribed sum, within the meaning of section 32 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (1,000 or another sum fixed by order under section 143 of that Act to take account of changes in the value of money); and those sections shall extend to Northern Ireland for the purposes of the application of this definition.

S-7 Powers of search, forfeiture, etc.

7 Powers of search, forfeiture, etc.

(1) If it appears to a justice of the peace, from information given him on oath, that there is reasonable cause to believe that a person has in his custody or under his control—

(a ) any thing which he or another has used, whether before or after the coming into force of this Act, or intends to use, for the making of any false instrument or copy of a false instrument, in contravention of section 1 or 2 above; or

(b ) any false instrument or copy of a false instrument which he or another has used, whether before or after the coming into force of this Act, or intends to use, in contravention of section 3 or 4 above; or

(c ) any thing custody or control of which without lawful authority or excuse is an offence under section 5 above,

the justice may issue a warrant authorising a constable to search for and seize the object in question, and for that purpose to enter any premises specified in the warrant.

(2) A constable may at any time after the seizure of any object suspected of falling within paragraph (a ), (b ) or (c ) of subsection (1) above (whether the seizure was effected by virtue of a warrant under that subsection or otherwise) apply to a magistrates' court for an order under this subsection with respect to the object; and the court, if it is satisfied both that the object in fact falls within any of those paragraphs and that it is conducive to the public interest to do so, may make such order as it thinks fit for the forfeiture of the object and its subsequent destruction or disposal.

(3) Subject to subsection (4) below, the court by or before which a person is convicted of an offence under this Part of this Act may order any object shown to the satisfaction of the court to relate to the offence to be forfeited and either destroyed or dealt with in such other manner as the court may order.

(4) The court shall not order any object to be forfeited under subsection (2) or (3) above where a person claiming to be the owner of or otherwise interested in it applies to be heard by the court, unless an opportunity has been given to him to show cause why the order should not be made.

Interpretation of Part I

Interpretation of Part I

S-8 Meaning of ‘instrument’.

8 Meaning of ‘instrument’.

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, in this Part of this Act ‘instrument’ means—

(a ) any document, whether of a formal or...

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