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Police Raid Suspected Cannabis Farm, Find Illegal Bitcoin Mine Instead

Image credits: Facebook/West Midlands Police.

Image credits: Facebook/West Midlands Police.

Mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is an illegal activity in the UK.

A massive bitcoin mine was found under operation in the West Midlands, UK, when the police went to raid a suspected cannabis farm. On May 18, police officials executed a search warrant in an industrial unit in Birmingham after receiving intelligence that the unit was being used as a marijuana farm. The department issued a press release and stated that it received reports of many people visiting the building at different times of the day. When the officials reached the estate, they found ventilation ducts and wiring coming from the building. They also noticed a considerable heat source, usually associated with a classic cannabis factory, from above using the drone. But when they entered the building, they discovered a massive bank of around 100 computers wired together with fans attached to large ventilation ducts.

The pictures released by the police officials show numerous pieces of the computer equipment used in the alleged Bitcoin mining operation. As bitcoin mining requires the use of high-powered specialized computers, the operation was found to be stealing thousands of pounds worth of electricity from the mains supply. Inquiries with network operator Western Power Distribution suggested an illegal connection to the electricity supply.

Jennifer Griffin, a Sandwell police sergeant, said the discovery was certainly not what they 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,” she said.

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The officials have seized the equipment and will be looking into permanently shutting it downit under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Jennifer further informed that there was no one in the unit when they executed their warrant and no arrests have been made so far. But they will have inquiries with the unit’s owner. Mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is an illegal activity in the UK. Mining is a process through which users gain bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies. It often employs the use of highly specialised computers to solve complex mathematical puzzles.

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first published:May 29, 2021, 12:56 IST