Massive illegal bitcoin mine discovered in the UK after police raid suspected cannabis farm; steals thousands of pounds worth of electricity from the mains supply
Police in the United Kingdom have uncovered an illegal bitcoin mine during an industrial unit raid of a cannabis farm. The massive mine, which is located in an industrial unit on the outskirts of the English city of Birmingham, was stealing thousands of pounds worth of electricity from the mains supply, West Midlands Police said Thursday.
The mine — located in an industrial unit on the outskirts of the English city of Birmingham — was stealing thousands of pounds worth of electricity from the mains supply, West Midlands Police said Thursday.
It all started on May 18 after the police received tips that led them to believe it was being used as a cannabis farm. To their surprise, the officers found a bank of around 100 computers and zero cannabis on entering the building. The police later seized the IT equipment. Their inquiries with Western Power revealed the electric supply had been bypassed and thousands of pounds worth had been stolen to power the ‘mine’.
Sandwell Police Sergeant Jennifer Griffin, said: “It’s certainly not what we were expecting! It had all the hallmarks of a cannabis cultivation setup and I believe it’s only the second such crypto mine we’ve encountered in the West Midlands.
“My understanding is that mining for cryptocurrency is not itself illegal but clearly abstracting electricity from the mains supply to power it is.
“We’ve seized the equipment and will be looking into permanently seizing it under the Proceeds of Crime Act. No one was at the unit at the time of the warrant and no arrests have been made – but we’ll be making inquiries with the unit’s owner.”
The warrant was one of almost 50 executed as part of County Lines Intensification Week (17-23 May) which led to 84 arrests, significant drug seizures, and the recovery of weapons including a sawn-off shotgun and a blank firing pistol converted to discharge live rounds.
Bitcoin miners use purpose-built computers to solve complex mathematical problems and are rewarded with a fraction of Bitcoin. This computational process is called cryptocurrency mining. New Cryptocurrency is released into the digital currency economy through mining.
As of April 2020, about 65% of the world’s Bitcoin mining took place in China, according to an estimate by the University of Cambridge.