Tattoo equipment seized from Plymouth home

A third ‘scratcher’ has had their equipment seized as result of Plymouth City Council’s Operation Itchy.

Officers from the Council’s Public Protection Team together with the police executed a Court Order at an address in West Park yesterday.

A tattoo studio was discovered set up in the kitchen and items seized included tattoo machines, tattoo inks and needles. A man is being interviewed.

This is the third operation carried out as part of a campaign to crackdown on scratchers – amateurs who have bought tattoo kit over the internet and tattoo without proper training or awareness of hygiene.
The seizures are part of a two-pronged approach – the Council launched a competency scheme for tattoo businesses to make sure tattoos and skin piercing takes place in hygienic and well-run premises.

It aims to reduce infection and injury through better awareness and training around infection control .

Councillor Sue McDonald, cabinet member for Children, Young People and Public Health said: “We have almost finished all the registered premises inspections and are pleased to report that they all take hygiene suitably seriously.

But this is only part of the story – we need to make sure people are not tempted to use scratchers – we know people who have suffered serious infections and needed hospital treatment as a result of paying for a cheap tattoo from a scratcher.”

The law requires tattoo premises and tattoo business owners to be registered but the customer has no idea how good that business is. The Council has encouraged the 30 premises in the city to self-audit to make sure they are up to speed with all the basic health requirements ahead of inspections.

Other support for the businesses include training sessions with public health professionals for infection control and work to introduce better reporting arrangements for ill health and infections.

Because piercing and tattooing involves contact between blood and instruments, there is a risk of blood borne infections such as HIV and hepatitis as well as other skin infections that can lead to permanent disfigurement and blood poisoning.