Suspected marijuana farm turns out to be a Bitcoin mine that was stealing electricity...

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,286   +132
Staff member
In brief: When UK police conducted a raid of a suspected cannabis farm last week, they were surprised to find no marijuana. They found a farm, mind you, it was just of the digital variety. Crypto mining isn't illegal in the region, but stealing the electricity to power the operation is.

West Midlands Police said they had been tipped off that lots of people had been visiting the industrial unit in question. Upon closer inspection, they noted lots of wiring and ventilation ducts. Furthermore, police drones detected a considerable amount of heat coming from the top of the facility.

Police concluded it must be a marijuana growing operation, so they acquired a warrant and executed it on May 18.

Instead of drugs, they found a cryptocurrency mine. The people seen visiting at all hours of the day were likely just maintaining the hardware. The wiring, vents and heat? All par for the course when mining cryptocurrency.

It wasn’t a total bust, however, as it was determined that the operators were stealing the electricity used to power the rigs.

“It’s certainly not what we were expecting,” said Sandwell Police Sergeant Jennifer Griffin. “My understanding is that mining for cryptocurrency is not itself illegal but clearly abstracting electricity from the mains supply to power it is.”

Police seized the equipment and will be looking to take ownership of it through the Proceeds of Crime Act. No arrests have been made as the unit was unoccupied at the time of the raid but police are looking to get in contact with the facility’s owner.

Permalink to story.

 

Achaios

Posts: 141   +419
Τhis is what you're up against.

Now the Maf has officially moved into mining instead of simply smuggling and selling GPUs.

This does not bode well for gamers and in the meantime, Leatherman Tsao, NVIDIA's CEO said that they expect GPU shortages to continue well into 2022.

RIP.
 

seeprime

Posts: 554   +637
The police "suspected" illegal cannabis growing. Okay. Now, maybe some of them realize that their limited understanding of technology needs to be improved upon. The world doesn't need cops that can't think outside the box. So, let's get them educated, so they're less ignorant and less aggressive. I can hope, anyway.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,341   +1,884
Ha! They probably could've also been growing weed on the side to take advantage of the heat lol.

Growing weed and mining at the same location would have just double the heat output, which would have just raised the red flag sooner for the cops not a great idea.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,427   +2,757
TechSpot Elite
Growing weed and mining at the same location would have just double the heat output, which would have just raised the red flag sooner for the cops not a great idea.
From what I understand, you need heat for the plants, plus a lot of light. The heat can be supplied by mining, and efficient lights don't give off much heat.

If done smart, I'd imagine that the only thing that would do is increase the amount of electricity leeched...
 
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waclark

Posts: 51   +43
It wasn’t a total bust, however, as it was determined that the operators were stealing the electricity used to power the rigs.

"stealing" electricity? Say it ain't so. Don't we have a fundamental right to free power? Just like free healthcare? The UK has universal healthcare, why not universal power? I mean, it could be unhealthy not to have power.

These guys are just political pawns in an evil game to keep the people down by limiting the amount of power they can consume.
 

brucek

Posts: 812   +1,130
TechSpot Elite
"West Midlands Police said they had been tipped off that lots of people had been visiting the industrial unit in question"

Any industrial unit has some employees. Why would a crypto (or pot) farming operation have so vastly more than others that it caused a police inquiry?
 

defaultluser

Posts: 181   +133
Τhis is what you're up against.

Now the Maf has officially moved into mining instead of simply smuggling and selling GPUs.

This does not bode well for gamers and in the meantime, Leatherman Tsao, NVIDIA's CEO said that they expect GPU shortages to continue well into 2022.

RIP.

Well, at least Nvidia is making it harder by Product Segmentation.

It's better than AMD's lazy-*** plan (just raise prices fer everyone!)
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,489   +1,718
TechSpot Elite
It wasn’t a total bust, however, as it was determined that the operators were stealing the electricity used to power the rigs.

"stealing" electricity? Say it ain't so. Don't we have a fundamental right to free power? Just like free healthcare? The UK has universal healthcare, why not universal power? I mean, it could be unhealthy not to have power.

These guys are just political pawns in an evil game to keep the people down by limiting the amount of power they can consume.
I agree that having free electricity paid for through taxes would be a great thing since the utility companies are often government-owned already. It would also encourage governments to invest in cheaper and cleaner sources of electricity like hydro, geo-thermal, wind and solar.
 

waclark

Posts: 51   +43
I agree that having free electricity paid for through taxes would be a great thing since the utility companies are often government-owned already. It would also encourage governments to invest in cheaper and cleaner sources of electricity like hydro, geo-thermal, wind and solar.
When have you ever known the government to invest in cheaper sources of anything? I would rather see cheap power for all. Government provided power just means people will use excessive amounts because it doesn't cost them anything.

The government is not here to provide for your every need, nor should they. That's what feudal England looked like a few hundred years ago, and it wasn't pretty.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,489   +1,718
TechSpot Elite
When have you ever known the government to invest in cheaper sources of anything? I would rather see cheap power for all. Government provided power just means people will use excessive amounts because it doesn't cost them anything.

The government is not here to provide for your every need, nor should they. That's what feudal England looked like a few hundred years ago, and it wasn't pretty.
I don't know about the UK but ask a person in Texas about their power bill of $35,000USD from their privatised power grid which they got charged if their power DIDN'T go out during that freak snow storm. Yeah, privatisation is SOOOOO WONDERFUL (you've got to be kidding me).

In Canada, our governmental power systems work extremely well, especially Hydro-Quebec, the largest producer of hydropower in North America and third-largest in the world. Maybe YOUR government sucks at things like that but mine sure as hell does not. Canada is overwhelmingly powered by hydropower which is clean, cheap, constant and plentiful. We also have nuclear in Ontario and New Brunswick. So yes, I DO know my government to invest in cheap, clean and plentiful sources of energy.

I'm a UK citizen by descent and I've never heard of such problems so you'll pardon me if I don't take your word at face value. It seems to me that you'd be much happier living in some neo-fascist country with no regulation on private companies whatsoever. I think that you might enjoy one of those countries. They used to be called "The Third World".

Bon Voyage!
 
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mbk34

Posts: 183   +123
The police "suspected" illegal cannabis growing. Okay. Now, maybe some of them realize that their limited understanding of technology needs to be improved upon. The world doesn't need cops that can't think outside the box. So, let's get them educated, so they're less ignorant and less aggressive. I can hope, anyway.
Can't see why you said that as they weren't being ignorant or aggressive. They were just working with the clues they had and a cannabis farm seemed the most likely explanation.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,976   +5,749
Can't see why you said that as they weren't being ignorant or aggressive. They were just working with the clues they had and a cannabis farm seemed the most likely explanation.
I would think the gamer types here would be outraged at the stealing electricity aspect of the operation. "Whaa, we can't even get video cards, and these douches have as many as the want, and free electricity to boot".<(pun intended)
 

Gastec

Posts: 113   +53
It wasn’t a total bust, however, as it was determined that the operators were stealing the electricity used to power the rigs.

"stealing" electricity? Say it ain't so. Don't we have a fundamental right to free power? Just like free healthcare? The UK has universal healthcare, why not universal power? I mean, it could be unhealthy not to have power.

These guys are just political pawns in an evil game to keep the people down by limiting the amount of power they can consume.
You are free to take as much power from the Sun as you can. Why should other people give you electricity for free? "Universal" healthcare is paid for from taxes, you want a tax for "universal" electricity on your salary? It can be done and it probably will be done in the future, you will end up being taxed for everything, even the very air you breathe. But to want free stuff without working for it, that sounds a bit too "progressive", of the hypster, neo-marxist kind ;)
 
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captaincranky

Posts: 16,976   +5,749
Leave it to Techspot to always cover stories like this and not stories like this:

To stoke fear and outrage towards mining.

And leave it to her readers to constantly confuse mining ASICs with video cards. You'd be closer to the mark blaming Ford Trucks for your sub-optimal Call of Duty frames.
Well, simply because one person on any given block buys an electric car, doesn't mean the whole block is, "environmentally friendly"

Are you suggesting this story should have been "censored", or just not published?
 

terzaerian

Posts: 960   +1,399
Well, simply because one person on any given block buys an electric car, doesn't mean the whole block is, "environmentally friendly"

Are you suggesting this story should have been "censored", or just not published?
I will put credit where credit is due wrt their general coverage and explanation of the mechanics of crypto, which have been balanced so far. But their reporting on mining specific stories has overall had a consistent slant to it, always doom and gloom and fear stoking. They've really had it out for Chiacoin in particular, which is ironic seeing as Chiacoin was specifically made to address the problems with traditional energy-hungry proof-of-work mining. The report on the internet cafe using their cards to mine to survive COVID shutdowns has been the one outstanding token exception I can recall.