Drugs police in central England found signs of a cannabis farm: visitors coming in every hour, with wide wires, ventilation ducts and unusually high temperatures.
But during close inspections, they relied on the huge power use of another operative exposed: cryptocurrency mines stealing electricity from the national grid.
A West Midlands Police booth has uncovered an illegal operation in an industrial area northwest of Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city.
Set Up was stealing thousands of pounds of electricity from the main supply.
– West Midlands Police (WMPolice) May 28, 2021
“It’s definitely not what we expected,” Sergeant Jennifer Griffin said Friday.
“It has all the features of a cannabis farming setup and I believe it’s the only West Cristo mine we’ve encountered in the West Midlands.”
Police believe the operation was a bitcoin mine, he added.
The site housed about 100 computers and bypassed the electricity meter. It was empty at the time and no arrests were made, but police said they were investigating the owner of the unit.
Mining cryptocurrency is a huge energy intensive process that requires a large amount of electricity in huge data centers.
According to Dutch bank analysts, the Bitcoin mine only uses electricity for about a year in Switzerland.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday announced a four-month ban on all cryptocurrency mines, after his energy minister apologized for unplanned power cuts in major cities that blamed unlicensed miners.
In mid-May, entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Tesla stopped accepting bitcoin as a payment for its electric cars, citing concerns about the harmful environmental effects of mining cryptocurrencies.
(Except for the headline, this story is not edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)