Briton to sue local council for £1bn after ex binned Bitcoin hard drive worth £275m

Briton to sue local council for £1bn after ex binned Bitcoin hard drive worth £275m

WATCH HERE: Fly-tippers should be garrotted with their own intestines, Tory MP says

House of Commons
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 14/02/2024

- 19:11

A decade long argument has taken place between James Howells and Newport City Council

A man is set to start legal proceedings against his local council after they reportedly refused to let him dig for a hard drive worth £275million.

James Howells has been locked in a row with Newport City Council over a lost hard drive.

The hard drive that contained 8,000 Bitcoin was accidentally thrown out by James Howells' ex-girlfriend.

Howells has been battling for a decade for permission to dig up the Newport City Council landfill site on Docks Way to find the hard drive and access his cryptocurrency

\u200bHowells claims to have millions in bitcoin at the landfill site

Howells claims to have millions in bitcoin at the landfill site

Google Maps/Getty

Despite a decade-long campaign, the council has repeatedly refused Howells' requests to access the site, citing reasons including permit issues and the unrealistic prospect of recovering the iPhone-sized drive.

The 38-year-old has now said his team has sent legal correspondence, a letter before the claim, notifying the council that "we are willing to go to the High Court to seek a Judicial Review."

He told The Sun: "It could bankrupt Newport City Council and that's not my goal here. My goal is to dig for my property in an environmentally friendly way and get my hard drive...It's a bit like if you're neighbours and you kick your football over next door's fence - they have to reasonably give back your property.

"They can't instead build a brick wall over your property, which is effectively what Newport City Council has done by continuing to pile waste on it."


\u200bNewport City Council landfill site

Newport City Council landfill site


In August last year, Howells told WalesOnline he had assembled a team of experts in finance, AI, data recovery and the environment in order to persuade the council to let them dig up the site in a way which did not impact the environment.

The plans included a search facility with robotic arms, manual pickers and factory-standard machinery to sort through the waste at the landfill site.

In previous years he has offered to give the council a cut of the value of the Bitcoin, stating previously that he wanted to "give money to the people in Newport."

He has also outlined plans to "make Newport a crypto Mecca for future generations".

The total value invested in bitcoin surpassed $1trillion on Wednesday for the first time since November 2021 as inflows to US spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds continued to support prices.

Investments in bitcoin make up for more than half of the $2.01trillion parked in the overall cryptocurrency market which includes ether and other digital coins.

The world's largest cryptocurrency has risen around 20 per cent since the start of February, already set for its biggest monthly rise since October.

GB News has contacted Newport City Council for a comment.

You may like