Another illegal tattooist stopped from trading

Tattoo equipment has been seized after information from the public about another ‘scratcher’ in the city.

Trading Standards Officers along with Devon and Cornwall Police officers, seized a large amount of tattoo equipment including; 19 boxes of out of date needles and unsterile equipment from a Plymouth residential address this week.

The raid happened after information was received about an unregistered studio from members of the public.

Illegal Tattooists, often known as scratchers, can purchase tattoo equipment on the internet without being registered and have no proper training or awareness of hygiene.

Councillor Dave Downie, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities said: “We have some fantastic and very talented tattoo artists in Plymouth but we are also aware of a growing number of people who are tattooing people at home with no training and no idea about basic hygiene requirements.

“We have had complaints in the past where people have suffered serious infections and needed hospital treatment – given the popularity of tattoos and the number of competent and talented tattooists trading in the city, this should not happen.”

Plymouth runs a Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme (THRS) is a voluntary scheme that enables the public to choose a tattooist that meets high standards of hygiene. Similar to the food hygiene rating scheme, following a local authority inspection each tattoo studio is awarded a rating from one star, which means needing improvement, to four stars, which means very good. 

The rating system is based on good practice and goes beyond the legal requirements. The Council can remove the award should conditions in the premises fall below that necessary to maintain the rating.

Tattoo Sticker

Successful premises receive a Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme certificate and a window sticker to display for members of the public to see and their details are available on the council’s website.

For more information visit