Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021

Cops find UK’s ‘biggest illegal Bitcoin mine’ stealing power worth thousands

A massive bank of around 100 computer units were found by West Midlands Police after officers raided a unit at Great Bridge Industrial Estate in Tipton on May 18.

It's believed they were being used as part of a Bitcoin mining operation that was stealing thousands of pounds' worth of electricity from the mains supply.

Drug production was thought to be most likely after police were tipped off about visitors to the unit and told of wiring and ventilation ducts being seen inside, Birmingham Live reports.

A police drone also picked up a major heat source when it flew overhead.

The computers were seized and enquiries with Western Power revealed the electricity supply had been bypassed.

Thousands of pounds' worth of electricity had been stolen to power the ‘mine’.

Sandwell Police 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."

The warrant was one of almost 50 executed as part of a County Lines crackdown last week.

It led to 84 arrests, significant drug seizures and the recovery of weapons including a sawn-off shotgun and a blank firing pistol converted to discharge live rounds.

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