British police have stormed a suspected hemp plantation. Instead of drugs, however, the officials found computers that mined bitcoins. On May 18, 2021, the police discovered a crypto mining farm in the English administrative unit of Sandwell that was operated with illegally tapped electricity. The computers used there are believed to have consumed stolen electricity worth several thousand pounds.
According to an official police report, the law enforcement officers initially suspected a cannabis plantation in the stormed building. Eyewitnesses had previously reported a high number of visitors to the facility. With the help of a drone, the officers noticed an unusually high level of heat in the building.
Numerous ventilation shafts and visible cables running along the building were also typical references to a hemp plantation. The police forcefully entered the industrial complex. Instead of illegally grown plants, however, she only found around 100 computer units that were mining bitcoins in high-performance operations.
No arrests for now
It is only the second mining farm of its kind that police have tracked down in the West Midlands region, according to the report. The computers have been secured for the time being and are to be permanently confiscated. Since none of the operators were on site when the mining farm was stormed, there have been no arrests so far.
The police are now investigating the owner of the building, but they also point out that mining cryptocurrencies is not in itself a criminal offense. In the present case, only the theft of the electricity was criminal. The local energy supplier confirmed that the perpetrators had bypassed the regular electricity connection.
The storming of the supposed cannabis plantation was part of a large-scale police offensive in the region. From May 17 to 23, 2021, the West Midlands Police carried out 50 house searches as part of an intensification campaign in the fight against illegal drug trafficking.
High power consumption in mining is a problem
The high power consumption of mining farms is a constant source of criticism. In Iran, for example, the mining of Bitcoin & Co. was recently banned due to frequent power outages. Tesla boss Elon Musk recently initiated a sustainability offensive among miners to improve the environmental balance of cryptocurrencies. Hardware manufacturers, however, benefit from the mining trend. Nvidia, for example, reported massive increases in profits from the sale of graphics cards suitable for mining at the end of May.