An uncanny bust recently happened in England. A sign of the times, British police set out to find a cannabis farm but instead found a Bitcoin mining centre.
Computer systems were found by the police, who claim that users were illegally siphoning electricity to mine Bitcoin. 100 computer units were seized by police officers in West Midlands, England. According to the police, the computers were attempting to bypass the local power grid.
The warehouse was discovered using a drone after the device detected a heat source and followed its trail.Officers from West Midlands police raided a building in an industrial estate on 18 May expecting to find a cannabis farm, but instead stumbled upon the cryptocurrency scheme. No arrests have been made.
Users gain bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies through “mining”, a process in which computers solve complex mathematical puzzles. Those puzzles have by design become more difficult as more bitcoin has been awarded to users, meaning more powerful computers and significantly more energy are needed to make mining worthwhile.
However, it can be lucrative. A single bitcoin was worth $36,392 (Rs.2,656,616) on Friday afternoon. That was below its all-time high above $64,800 but about five times its value at the start of 2020.
West Midlands police said they had been tipped off to the possible existence of a cannabis farm because of reports of people visiting the industrial unit at all times of day. A police drone flown overhead “picked up a considerable heat source”, usually associated with heaters used to help cannabis plants grow, the force said.
Pictures of the mine released by police showed rows of computers wired together with fans attached to large ventilation ducts. There were about 100 computer units in total.
Mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is not illegal in the UK. However, the police said the mining operation was found to be stealing thousands of pounds worth of electricity from the mains supply after inquiries to Western Power, the network operator.
Jennifer Griffin, a Sandwell police sergeant, said the find was “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,” she said.
The officials have seized the equipment and will be looking into permanently shutting it down it 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.