A fence is an individual who knowingly buys stolen property for later resale, sometimes in a legitimate market. The fence thus acts as a middleman between thieves and the eventual buyers of stolen goods who may not be aware that the goods are stolen. As a verb, the word describes the behaviour of the thief in the transaction: The burglar fenced the stolen radio. This sense of the term came from thieves' slang, first attested c. 1700, from the notion of such transactions taking place under defence of secrecy.The fence is able to make a profit with stolen merchandise because he/she is able to pay thieves a very low price for stolen goods. They then disguise the stolen nature of the goods, if possible, so that they can sell them closer to the white market price. This process often relies on a legal business conducting legal sales. Fencing is illegal in the United States and in the United Kingdom, but legally proving a violation of anti-fencing laws is difficult.