- UK Police raided an alleged cannabis farm to find an illegal Bitcoin mining facility.
- The unit was stealing power from the local utility to run its machines.
- Police have seized all the equipment and will be taking criminal action against owners.
UK Police raided an alleged cannabis farm in the West Midlands recently, expecting to find drug dealers and heavy stoners. Instead, they stumbled upon computer geniuses secretly mining Bitcoin.
The officials mentioned that the facility had all “all classic cannabis factory signs”. They had heard of lots of people visiting the unit at different times of the day. There were a lot of visible wiring and ventilation ducts as well. Also, a police drone picked up a considerable heat source from above.
However, when the officers forced entry they came across a sight they did not expect. In front of them was a bank of around 100 computer units which were all part of a Bitcoin mining “operation”.
What’s understood is that the mining facility had 100 S9s, which is one of the most popular Bitcoin mining ASIC. Since the machines worked all day, they gave the site a heat print. This was quite similar to one that a cannabis farm would generate.
Further inquiry into the facility led to the discovery that the Bitcoin mine was in fact stealing power through the local utility. It was bypassing the power utility controls and using power directly from the source.
“We executed a drugs warrant at a Black Country industrial unit – and uncovered a cryptocurrency ‘mine’ that was stealing thousands of pounds worth of electricity from the mains supply,” the official news website of the West Midlands Police stated.
“My understanding is that mining for cryptocurrency is not itself illegal but clearly abstracting electricity from the mains supply to power it is.” — Sandwell Police Sergeant
As of now, they haven’t made any arrests in relation to the crime. When they executed the warrant, the facility was empty. Still, the police have seized the equipment and are looking to seize the entire mine under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Bitcoin mining can take up large amounts of energy, giving incentive to miners for stealing power to lower mining costs. Many cases of electricity theft have come up in places like China, leading to a crackdown on illegal mining. Unregulated Bitcoin mining emissions and the large consumption loads may likely become too much to handle for the local power supply. Because of this, some countries also opting for banning Bitcoin mining altogether.