Latest Issue

Will Antony Worrall Thompson try "the Winona defence"? British and American attitudes to shoplifting differ vastly

Not much has changed since 1800, when Jane Austen’s aunt, Jane Leigh-Perrot, was the first middle-class person to be tried for shoplifting. Today, when wealthy people like Antony Worrall Thompson steal from stores, it incites outrage—as though we could not bear to consider the idea that stealing might arise from something other than economic deprivation. At the beginning of the 19th century, that misconception at least worked in Leigh-Perrot’s favour: she was…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect