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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Warning over suspected network of illegal tattoo artists in Carlisle

A WARNING has been issued about a network of illegal tattoo artists suspected of operating in Carlisle.

And those tempted to use them have been told they could jeopardise their health – potentially contracting diseases including hepatitis.

One of Cumbria’s leading tattoo artists says he’s heard of up to a dozen people operating without a licence in the area.

The dangers of using artists not registered with the authorities comes after another illegal studio near the city was shut down.

Officials say an unregistered artist was working from a flat near Brunstock.

Colin Fell, manager of Mike’s Tattoos on Botchergate, Carlisle, was pleased to hear the operation had been closed down. He suspects more will follow and told The Cumberland News: “There are about 12 people doing it from home in Carlisle right now.”

Mr Fell added that people heading into unlicensed shops were putting themselves at risk of diseases because of unsterilised equipment, scarring from badly done work as well as having a bad looking tattoo on their body.

He said many unlicensed artists were untrained and operate by using cheap equipment and ink bought online – often with terrible results.

“Not only are people paying a lot of money for bad work but they then have to pay people like us to get it repaired so it’s costing them twice as much,” Mr Fell said. “If you are going to get a tattoo you should think before you ink and make sure the tattooist is trained and licensed.”

The city council applied for a court order to stop the Brunstock studio after receiving a complaint from a member of the public. They said that, to protect the public, the order required the operator to cease tattooing immediately. It also allowed the council to seize and destroy all tattoo equipment at the premises.

Environmental health officers, accompanied by police, executed a warrant at the address last week and seized a large amount of tattooing equipment.

Carlisle city councillor Elsie Martlew, portfolio holder for environment and transport, said: “This is the second seizure of equipment from an unregistered tattooist by the city council this year.

“All tattoo artists, both the individual and the premises, must be registered with the local authority to ensure that they are inspected and meet the strict infection control and health and safety standards we place upon them. Unregistered tattooing will not be tolerated in Carlisle and where evidence is brought forward we will take action to stop these people from trading.”

The council said the action follows an increase in reports of unregistered tattooists, and the major health risks associated with using them.

Dr Kenneth Lamden, Public Health England’s Cumbrian consultant in communicable disease control, said:“Unhygienic tattoo equipment carries a risk of infection. This includes developing serious skin infections resulting in permanent scarring or contracting blood-borne viruses including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, all of which have long term health consequences.”

Another illegal studio was closed down in Currock in May. Anyone who may have visited this tattooist or any unregistered operator should contact the city council’s environmental health team on 01228 817559 for advice.


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