Police in the United Kingdom raided an industrial unit outside Birmingham under suspicion that it was housing an indoor marijuana cultivation company, CNBC. reported. They were surprised to find out instead, an elaborate Bitcoin mining roster that illegally pulled electricity from the mains.
Prior to the raid, police observed several people going in and out of the building during the day, and saw extensive ventilation and wiring. They also claim that a drone was able to detect large amounts of heat coming from the building. Because indoor cannabis farms use grow lights, heating and ventilation to grow plants where they normally don’t thrive, police thought they were looking for “classic signs” of a clandestine weed operation.
What they were actually looking at, as they soon learned, was about a hundred or so Antminer S9 machinesand generated enormous amounts of heat as they minted new coins. Easy mistake to make, and not illegal in cases where cryptocurrency miners are paying their electricity bill. However, this particular operation sent “thousands of pounds” of electricity into the grid, and as a result was shut down by the same police who thought they were preparing for a drug attack.
The mining equipment, which we estimate to be worth more than $ 5,000, was confiscated, although no arrests have been made.
The police may not have caught a drug ring, but they’ve probably done more good by shutting down this illegal mining rig – at least for the environment. Weed was found in 2016 1 percent of electricity consumption in the US, then an equivalent of 15 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison, it is estimated that Bitcoin is responsible for nearly 25 percent of worldwide electricity consumption in 2019.