Equipment worth £4,000 has been seized as a fourth ‘scratcher’ has been raided through the Council’s Operation Itchy.
Officers from the Council’s Public Protection Service, together with the police, executed a warrant at an address in Barne Barton this morning in the 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: “As a city we want people to lead healthy lives. Tattooing is extremely popular in Plymouth but it needs to be carried out in a hygienic environment by people who know what they are doing.”
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.
Because of concerns about hygiene, the equipment was removed by Council staff trained in handling and removal of contaminated waste, for immediate destruction.
The man is investigated for tattooing from an unregistered premises and tattooing when not registered as a tattoo artist.
Various offences under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 are also being considered.