Crypto News

Suspected Cannabis Farm Turns out To Be an Illegal Bitcoin Mine

The Bitcoin farm powered with stolen electricity. Credit: West Midlands Police
The Bitcoin farm powered with stolen electricity. Credit: West Midlands Police

Yerevan (CoinChapter.com) – Police in the UK discovered an illegal Bitcoin mine while conducting a raid in a suspected cannabis farm.

The mine, located in an abandoned warehouse in Sandwell, came to the attention of the police when locals complained of suspicious activity.

Regular visits to the abandoned warehouse by three men had caught the attention of the residents of the area. For eight months, the men visited the farm, bringing electrical wires, duct tapes, pipes, and weird gadgets.
The residents, on seeing the wiring protruding from the farmhouse, alerted the police. After conducting an inspection, the police concluded that the farmhouse was being used for farming cannabis.

The Surprise

After gathering the necessary intel, the police searched the unit. However, they did not find any cannabis farms. Instead, they found around 100 computers mining bitcoin (BTC).

“It’s certainly not what we were expecting,” Jennifer Griffin, Sandwell police sergeant, said in a statement. “It had all the hallmarks of a cannabis cultivation set-up, and I believe it’s only the second such crypto mine we’ve encountered in the West Midlands.”

People use powerful computers to mine cryptocurrencies. These computers solve complex mathematical problems and help in running the blockchain. In return, owners of bitcoin mining machines are rewarded in digital currency.

Stealing Electricity for Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency farm powered with stolen electricity. Credit: West Midlands Police
The cryptocurrency farm powered with stolen electricity. Credit: West Midlands Police

Although mining cryptocurrency is not illegal, the police seized the computers and gadgets the suspects used to mine cryptocurrency in the farmhouse.

The miners had drilled holes through the floor of the warehouse to illegally connect to a grid. Around 100 computers were power through the stolen electricity. The alleged criminals stole an estimated £16,000 worth of electricity a month during the entire operation.

A leading Bitcoin expert told the Daily Mail that the electricity stolen by the alleged criminals was worth about £11,000 more than the amount of Bitcoin generated by them.

“The machines would have generated approximately 0.2 bitcoins per month – worth approximately £5,000 at current prices.” Dr. Tom Robinson was quoted saying by the Daily Mail.

The Police Are on The Lookout for The Three “Nerds”

At the time of the forced entry into the premises on 18 May, no one was at the farmhouse. 

The police are now on the lookout for the three men who frequented the premises. One of the locals described the three English men as “a bit nerdy and dodgy”. 

However, unless the cameras have fixed the three suspects or they have left any conclusive evidence, it might be difficult for the police to track the alleged suspects. It seems that they have not visited the premises in a long time. A mechanic who works at one of the industrial units said: “They’ve all just scarpered now, and we haven’t seen them for ages.”

Meanwhile, if the news wasn’t funny enough, people took to Twitter to point out the “criminal wiring” used in the bitcoin mining operation. 

“The wire organisation is the biggest crime here”, wrote one user in a reply to Tom Warren’s tweet about the news. 

We hope that the wire crime is not on the charge sheet.

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Karen Mkrtchyan

Yerevan-based Editor and writer focusing on topics about politics and international relations. Having completed his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, he currently works as a Projects Coordinator at Indo-Armenian Friendship NGO and the Indian Cultural Centre, Armenia. He regularly writes articles for Armenian media platforms and is the English language Editor of Keghart, a reputed Armenian Diaspora news platform based in Canada. As a young activist, he was awarded "The Best Active Youth International Award" by the Afghanistan Youth Parliament. He is also the Media in charge of the Youth Wing of Bright Armenia Party, the third-largest political party in the Armenian Parliament.

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