UK Police Raid Suspected Cannabis Farm, Find 'Huge' Bitcoin Mining Farm Instead

Police in the United Kingdom recently executed a raid on a suspected cannabis farm but instead discovered a "huge" Bitcoin mining farm.

The West Midlands Police Department said that it executed a search warrant at a Black Country industrial unit in Sandwell on May 18 after receiving intelligence that the unit was being used as a marijuana farm.

In a press release, the department said that it received reports of numerous people visiting the unit at different times of the day. They also noticed ventilation ducts and wiring coming from the unit, and a police drone even noticed a "considerable heat source from above."

"They are all classic cannabis factory signs — but when officers gained entry they found a huge bank of around 100 computer units as part of what's understood to be a Bitcoin mining operation," the West Midlands Police Department said in the release.

Pictures released by police show numerous pieces of computer equipment used in the alleged Bitcoin mining operation. Bitcoin mining requires the use of high-powered specialized computers.

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The computers are used by miners to calculate complicated math problems, allowing transactions of the world's most popular cryptocurrency to process, which in turn provides the miners with the cryptocurrency.

According to the West Midlands Police Department, officers seized the Bitcoin mining equipment. Police said that after speaking with Western Power, the electricity distribution network for the Midlands, they discovered that the "electric supply had been bypassed and thousands of pounds worth had been stolen to power the 'mine'."

In a statement, 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."

Griffin noted that nobody was at the unit when the search warrant was executed and no arrests have been made.

"But we'll be making enquiries [sic] with the unit's owner," Griffin added.

The high energy consumption required to mine Bitcoin is not something new, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently made headlines after announcing that the electric car company will no longer accept the cryptocurrency for car payments, citing it's "insane" use of energy.

Newsweek reached out to the Midlands Police Department for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Police in the United Kingdom recently executed a raid on a suspected cannabis farm but instead discovered a "huge" Bitcoin mining farm. Mark Case/Getty