Police in the United Kingdom were flabbergasted after they were forced to switch perspectives mid-assignment. Law enforcement within the country took part in a raid on a specific property thinking that it was growing and housing illegal marijuana. However, upon busting down the doors and looking around, they were confused and surprised to see that it was not a marijuana farm, but rather a large bitcoin mining establishment.

Marijuana Farm Turns Out to Be Bitcoin Mining Operation

The West Midlands Police Department in the U.K. received intelligence claiming that an industrial unit in the middle of Sandwell was being used to house pot plants. A search warrant was executed, and the police entered the property expecting to find lots of green leaves and a strange smell hanging in the air.

Among the tips they had received included those suggesting that people were going in and out of the industrial unit at odd hours and multiple times during each day. In addition, there were also ventilation ducts and wiring visible from the unit, while a police drone suggested that there was a heavy heat source hovering above the property.

In a statement, the police department explained:

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 is understood to be a bitcoin mining operation.

This may not have been illegal, but in examining things on a deeper level, it was discovered that much of the power being used to extract new coins had been stolen or illicitly garnered. In addition, the electricity supply specific to the area had been significantly “bypassed” according to reports from Western Power, which distributes electricity to the region. Thus, all computers and mining equipment were seized, and members of the operation are now being questioned, though no arrests have officially been made at the time of writing.

Sandwell Police Sergeant Jennifer Griffin expressed her surprise after discovering the project was not what she thought it would be:

It is certainly not what we were expecting! It had all the hallmarks of a cannabis cultivation setup, and I believe it is only the second such crypto mine we have encountered in the West Midlands. My understanding is that mining for cryptocurrency is not itself illegal, but clearly abstracting electricity from the main supply to power is… We will be making enquiries [sic] with the unit’s owner.

The Extraction Process Is at the Center of a Heated Argument

Bitcoin mining has been taking a lot of guff recently from environmentalists and businessmen who claim that it does irreversible damage to the planet’s atmosphere. Elon Musk, for example, has recently gone back on his decision to permit bitcoin payments for Tesla-based goods and services given that he has serious concerns with how the cryptocurrency is mined.

Incidents like this could add fuel to the fire.

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