Skip to main content

U.K. police expecting to bust pot farm stumble onto cryptocurrency mine instead

During a May 18 raid in the U.K., West Midlands Police expected to find a cannabis growing operation after learning about a site stealing electricity on the Great Bridge Industrial Estate. Instead, they found about 100 computers mining cryptocurrency.

The BBC reports that detectives received a tip prior to the raid. Onlookers said that they saw multiple people visiting the site throughout the day and police drones picked up a lot of heat coming from the building — typically a sign of a growing operation. Western Power Distribution also found that the site was illegally connected to its grid, stealing “thousands of pounds [worth of] of electricity.”

“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,” Sgt. Jennifer Griffin said. The authorities seized the computers but didn’t make any arrests.

Crypto-mining operations are becoming a problem not only in the U.K., but around the world. In 2018, New York allowed some power providers to start charging higher fees to crypto miners. In March 2021, New York introduced a bill that would ban mining for three years while the state evaluated the environmental impact.

These measures come in response to the growing climate problem surrounding mining coins like Ethereum. Some scientists say that increased demand for cryptocurrency has already negated the effects of using electric vehicles.

Recent reports show some mining operations bringing in over $20,000 per month, and Nvidia, whose GPUs are frequently at the heart of these mining operations, earns upwards of $400 million each year from crypto miners.

It’s not just private operations, either. One of Russia’s largest oil producers set up a Bitcoin mining farm in Siberia last year that’s entirely powered by gas.

With the price of multiple cryptocurrencies hitting all-time highs, we’re still not sure if demand — in terms of power and coins — will continue to grow. With volatility in currencies like Bitcoin, some investors think the market is showing a repeat of 2014 and 2018, where high volatility caused mass selloffs and devalued the coin.

Regardless, it looks like cannabis farms aren’t the only thing police have to worry about when it comes to stolen electricity.

Editors' Recommendations

Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
The XPS 16 is fighting an uphill battle against the MacBook Pro
Dell XPS 16 sitting on desktop with flowers.

It took a few years, but Dell finally updated the design of its two largest XPS laptops. The XPS 15 gave way to the XPS 14, while the XPS 17 was replaced by the XPS 16. The latter gained the ultramodern look of the XPS 13 Plus, complete with a glass palm rest, a hidden haptic touchpad, and a row of LED function keys.

It's a significant update but places the XPS 16 in direct competition with the Apple MacBook Pro 16. That's an excellent matchup with proven performance and battery life and an elegant design that's solid, if a lot more conservative.
Specs and configurations

Read more
These 4K monitors are discounted at Best Buy — from $200
The Sony InZone M9 sitting next to a PlayStation 5.

A 4K monitor is a great way of enjoying an enhanced image as you work with more pixels, higher resolutions, and often better colors too. Over at Best Buy, there are some great monitor deals squarely focused on all things 4K. There are dozens of 4K monitors in the sale so the smart move is to hit the button below to see what’s there for yourself. If you want some help though, we’re here. We’ve picked out a few highlights in the sale so take a look for yourself.

What to shop for in the Best Buy 4K monitor sale
Samsung makes some of the best monitors around so why not start with the ? It’s currently reduced by $150 so it costs just $200. Its IPS panel looks great with AMD FreeSync support effectively eliminating screen tears and stutters. There’s also HDR support which brings with it some great looking colors while wide viewing angles mean it looks great from any perspective.

Read more
9 best processors for PC gaming: tested and reviewed
The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D installed in a motherboard.

It's tough to find the right gaming CPU for your next PC. We've benchmarked dozens of processors to find the best CPU for gaming, and there's a clear winner right now: AMD's Ryzen 7 7800X3D. Although the latest chip from Team Red claims the crown, there are still several other great options on the market.

Whatever your needs and budgets, though, we have options from AMD and Intel that will be great performers. We're focused on gaming here, but if you want a processor that can game and get work done, make sure to check out our list of the best processors.

Read more