UK police recently revealed that they had discovered a massive crypto mining operation that had been illegally siphoning power from the national grid. According to a Daily Mail report, the illegal operation was located in the UK’s West Midlands.
How Police Came Upon The Operation
Police were alerted to potentially illegal activities going on in a building in an industrial estate. Those who made the report suspected that those involved in operations at the building were engaged in illegal cannabis farming. However, when police raided the building on May 18, they were shocked to find hundreds of Bitcoin mining rigs using illegal power connections. Police said they managed to recover around 100 BTC mining rigs from the warehouse.
According to one person who owned a unit on the same estate in Sandwell, the West Midlands, they had seen three individuals make their way into the building. The person said that the three looked “nerdy and dodgy.” He added that the trio had been making trips to the building for the past eight months. The trio managed to acquire power for their operation by drilling into the ground, whereby they were able to tap into the national grid.
The Amount Of Stolen Power
The mining of BTC is not illegal in the UK. However, the trio managed to steal power worth thousands of dollars. According to the West Midlands police, the setup was the second one they had come upon that was stealing power to mine crypto. It is the biggest such discovery in the UK.
In a month, the setup would have been siphoning power worth around $22,705 a month, which was worth more than the BTC amount they would have been generating. According to one expert, the setup would have minted around 0.2 BTC a month, which is worth around $7,100 at current prices.
No Suspects Yet
The police have not revealed whether they have any suspects in custody. However, it is unlikely that they do. They plan to hold onto the seized equipment under the Proceeds of Crime Act. In the future, these rigs will most likely be auctioned off. In the past, US authorities have auctioned off Bitcoin that they seized from illegal online activities.
The police have also not managed to get hold of any BTC address where the funds from the mining operation would have been deposited. If they do, it would go a long way in ensuring the operators of the setup do not benefit from their activities. However, no details regarding the BTC addresses have been released. It is also not clear if the operators were mining other coins besides BTC.
Why Mine BTC Illegally?
The risk involved in operating an illegal BTC operation is quite high. A major incentive for setting up such an illegal operation would be the high cost of power. It is a major contributing factor to why China controls close to 70% of the BTC hash power. Combined with the high price of BTC, the owners of the mining operation decided that the risk was worth it. However, the huge financial loss of the equipment will likely deter others from attempting to do the same.
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