- By Steve Smith
- December 23, 2021
During the Sandwell police search operation for a cannabis farm, they found a suspected Bitcoin mine, operating illegally by stealing electricity.
Officers had been tipped off about the illegal mining on the Great Bridge Industrial Estate, Sandwell, and raided it on 18 May, West Midlands Police said.
While operating, they found a bank of about 100 computer units stealing electricity instead of cannabis plants.
Sandwell Bitcoin mine had effectively stolen thousands of pounds of electricity for the mining process.
While inquiring the network operator Western Power Distribution, their illegal connections to the electric power supply were found.
Detectives said many people reported a lot of visitors to the unit throughout the day and a lot of heat coming from the building observed the police drone.
Sgt Jennifer Griffin said, given the signs, they had expected to find a cannabis farm.
“It had all the hallmarks of a cannabis cultivation set-up and I believe it is only the second such crypto mine we have encountered in the West Midlands,” she said.
The computer equipment has been seized but no arrests have been made, the force said.
Bitcoin is basically a digital currency, a form of cryptocurrency, that was first launched as an idea in 2008.
It operates on the blockchain – a digital ledger of transactions – and miners audit Bitcoin transactions in exchange for an opportunity to acquire the digital currency.
Bitcoin consumes more electricity than The Netherlands, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.
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