‘Three nerds’ linked to illegal Bitcoin mine found in Sandwell warehouse
The police in The West Midlands were confused this week when they believed they were executing a drugs warrant at a Black Country industrial unit and uncovered a cryptocurrency ‘mine’ that was stealing thousands of pounds worth of electricity from the mains supply.
Officers forced entry to the premises in Great Bridge Industrial Estate, Sandwell, on 18 May on the back of intelligence suggesting it was being used as a cannabis farm.
Locals told Police lots of people were visiting the unit at different times of day, lots of wiring and ventilation ducts were visible, and a police drone picked up 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 IT equipment was seized and enquiries with Western Power revealed the electric supply had been bypassed and thousands of pounds worth 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.”
An eyewitness has claimed ‘three English nerds’ may be linked to a cryptocurrency ‘mine’ that stole more than £16,0000 in electricity a month from an abandoned Black Country warehouse.
The owner of a unit on the Great Bridge Industrial Estate, Tipton said that they had seen three men who ‘looked a bit nerdy and dodgy’ arriving at the unit ‘on and off’ for around eight months
They added that a hole was seen inside the unit and said that they ‘apparently’ obtained access to the electricity by ‘drilling into the ground and getting it that way’.
Officers forced entry to the premises on May 18 after tip-offs suggested it was being used as a cannabis farm.
Police heard how lots of people were visiting the unit at different times of day and lots of wiring and ventilation ducts were visible, before a drone picked up a heat source from above.
Bitcoin mining is the process of creating the digital currency Bitcoin, which operates on the blockchain, a digital ledger of transactions.
This is done by verifying transactions, using high-powered computers working continuously to solve complex mathematical puzzles.
Once the equation is solved, the transactions can be audited, with miners who complete the verification process being rewarded with Bitcoin.
Is this the future of trapping?
Part 2 coming soon