Police were stunned when they destroyed a suspected cannabis factory and found an industrial-sized bitcoin mine illegally connected to up to 100 computers.
Officers came across an industrial facility after suspicion of the enormous volume of electricity and the suspicion of a drug farm was raised.
They broke into the premises of the Great Bridge Industrial Estate in Sandwell on May 18 and found 100 powerful computers.
West Midlands police say the computers illegally used thousands of pounds of electricity to mine Bitcoin on an industrial scale.
Most cryptocurrencies need to be “mined” in order to be created. This is a complex and meticulous process that is carried out through computers.
IT equipment was confiscated and investigations at Western Power revealed that the power supply was bypassed and thousands of pounds were stolen to power the “mine”.
Sergeant Jennifer Griffin said, “It’s certainly not what we expected.
“It had all the hallmarks of growing cannabis, and I believe it is only the second such crypto mine we have encountered in the West Midlands.
“My understanding is that mining cryptocurrency itself is not illegal, it is clearly drawing electricity from electricity to electricity.
“We have confiscated the equipment and will attempt to permanently confiscate it under the Crime Proceeds Act.”
“At the time of the warrant, no one was in the unit and no arrests were made. However, we will check with the owner of the unit.
“We heard how many people visited the device at different times of the day, many cables and ventilation ducts were visible and a police drone picked up a considerable source of heat from above.”