West Midlands police raided what it believed was an illegal cannabis farm, yet upon arrival discovered a set up linked to cryptocurrency mining which potentially looked to steal a significant amount from the National Grid.
The original tip-off came amid suspicion of a cannabis grow – with an abundance of ventilation and frequent visitors at all times, two signs of a cannabis factory.
Fears were elevated when a police drone picked up substantial heat signals off the building, nonetheless, it is instead believed to be linked to bitcoin mining, which requires immense amounts of electricity and energy.
Commenting after the incident, West Midlands Police’s Sergeant Jennifer Griffin said: “It’s certainly not what we were expecting.
“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.
“My understanding is that mining for cryptocurrency is not itself illegal but clearly abstracting electricity from the mains supply to power it is.
‘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.”
Following the raid, all the computer equipment was seized, with an investigation likely to be launched on the setup and potential offenses committed by the leaders at the premises.
In spite of a period of turbulence, the lockdown has seen a significant spike in the popularity of digital currency, from both investors and consumers.
A recent survey by Skrill revealed that 38% of respondents said they’d either invested in or bought a cryptocurrency.
Further uncovering a number of trends on the rising popularity and adoption of cryptocurrency, 84% said they’d heard of at least one cryptocurrency, with 64% recognising Bitcoin.