Police from the UK executed a raid in an industrial unit in the West Midlands county expecting to find a cannabis farm, but instead found a big bitcoin mining facility, that was coincidentally bypassing the controls from the local power utility company to siphon energy from the main grid, stealing thousands of pounds in the process.
UK Police Raid Alleged Cannabis Farm, Stumbles Upon Bitcoin Mining Facility
The West Midlands Police Department got a real surprise last week when they raided an alleged cannabis farm in an industrial premise, just to find the facility was used to operate a Bitcoin mine. According to reports from intelligence, all of the signs suggested the site was used as a cannabis-growing farm. The West Midlands police department stated in its report that:
We heard how lots of people were visiting the unit at different times of day, lots of wiring and ventilation ducts were visible, and a police drone picked up a considerable heat source from above. They are all classic cannabis factory signs
The mining facility had 100 S9s (one of the most popular bitcoin mining ASICs) working all day, giving the site a heated print pretty similar to the one of a cannabis farm. However, upon further inspection and after making inquiries with the local power utility company, the police found the facility was bypassing the local power utility company controls, using power directly from the source and stealing thousands of pounds of electricity in the process. Sandwell Police Sergeant Jennifer Griffin stated:
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 enquiries with the unit’s owner.
Bitcoin Related Power Theft Is Now Common
As it is known, bitcoin mining is a very energy-intensive task, and machines used for this purpose spend big amounts of energy to secure the network. This fact has made cryptocurrency mining-related power theft a common occurrence. There have been several electricity theft cases in China and in Malaysia, where miners have stolen millions of dollars while operating their mining facilities.
If miners bypass the local controls and connect their machines directly to the grids, the energy consumption might be too much for the power network to handle. Iran is now facing electricity problems, with its government banning Bitcoin mining due to the blackouts its network is facing with the high demand for electricity for these purposes.