British police raided an industrial facility in West Midlands county in anticipation of finding a cannabis farm. Instead, they found a large Bitcoin mining facility that happened to bypass the local utility company’s controls to suck power from the main grid, stealing thousands of pounds in the process.
British police search alleged cannabis farm and stumble upon Bitcoin mining facility
The West Midlands Police Department had a real surprise last week when they raided an alleged cannabis farm in an industrial area, only to find out that the facility was being used to power a Bitcoin mine. According to intelligence reports, all signs indicated that the site was being used as a cannabis growing farm. The West Midlands Police Department stated in their report that:
We heard how many people visited the device at different times of the day, many cables and ventilation ducts were visible, and a police drone picked up a significant source of heat from above. They are all classic signs of the cannabis factory
The mining facility had 100 S9s (one of the most popular Bitcoin mining ASICs) working all day, which gave the location a heated pressure pretty much like that of a cannabis farm. However, upon further inspections and after asking the local utility company, police found the facility bypassed the local utility company’s controls, using electricity directly from the source, and stealing thousands of pounds of electricity in the process. Sandwell Police Sergeant Jennifer Griffin stated:
We have confiscated the equipment and will attempt to permanently confiscate it in accordance with the Crime Proceeds Act. At the time of the warrant, no one was in the unit and no arrests were being made. However, we will check with the owner of the unit.
Bitcoin-related electricity theft is now widespread
Bitcoin mining is known to be a very energy intensive task and machines used for this purpose use a lot of energy to secure the network. This fact has made power theft related to cryptocurrency mining a common occurrence. There have been multiple electricity theft cases in China and Malaysia, with miners stealing millions of dollars while operating their mining facilities.
If miners bypass the local controls and plug their machines directly into the grids, the energy consumption may be too high for the power grid to handle. Iran is now facing electricity problems. The government bans Bitcoin mining due to the power outages its network is experiencing with the high demand for electricity for these purposes.
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