An unregistered tattooist – or “scratcher” as they are referred to in the industry – has been prosecuted by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council for inking customers in the kitchen of his home.
Public Health and Protection officers took action against Andrew Miles, 38, of Woodfield Terrace, Penrhiwceiber, in March of this year, after receiving reports he was undertaking tattoos at his home.
Subsequent checks by officers confirmed he did not have a personal license that allowed him to carry on the business of tattooing and his premises were not registered to carry on the business of tattooing. Both of these failures are offences under The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.
It is believed he had been carrying out tattooing, without a license, in premises that were not registered for almost two years.
As a result of the information, Public Health and Protection Officers attended court the same month and, under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, secured a warrant that was executed at Miles’ home.
They found – and seized – a range of tattoo paraphernalia. This included 30 reusable stainless steel tips, tubes and tube grips, as well as four boxes of disposable tips, over 60 bottles of coloured inks and 15 tattoo coil frames.
Officers also took a folding tattoo bed, hundreds of pounds worth of needles and other small items of tattoo equipment. The amount of paraphernalia seized was similar to the amount that would be found in a high street tattoo studio.
As a result of the investigation, Andrew Raymond Miles was charged with two offences:
Failure to obtain personal registration to carry on the business of tattooing
Failure to register a premise in which to carry out the business of tattooing.
The case was heard at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court on August 15. Andrew Miles admitted both offences and told the court he only tattooed friends and family and not for money. He apologised for his actions and accepted he was running a business.
He was fined £110 per offence and ordered to pay £500 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
David Jones Head of Community Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said “We work hard to ensure compliance from the industry because a lack of understanding of good hygiene practices and inappropriate premises and equipment poses serious risks to their clients.
“Many people assume the tattoo studio they are visiting is legal, registered and meets the expected standards. Because of that public assumption, it is the role of the Council to ensure standards are met and, also, protect the public by dealing with those tattooists who put people’s health – and other people’s businesses – at risk.
“Tattooing is a process that involves puncturing the skin with a needle. With this comes the risk of serious, possibly life-threatening blood infections, such as HIV, AIDs and Hepatitis. As well as the health implications, scratchers are also damaging the trade of tattooists who work hard to operate legally and to the highest-possible health and hygiene standards.
“We have had a number of recent successes in relation to our campaign against scratchers and I hope this work reassures the public – and the legal trade – that Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has the powers to deal swiftly and effectively with those who are breaking the law.
“We continue to advise residents considering a tattoo, semi-permanent make-up and other cosmetic procedures to check their facts fully and ask to see registration documentation.”
Suspicious activity can be reported to our Food and Health and Safety Team on 01443 425001. Those who are operating as tattoo artists, or thinking of starting such a business, are also urged to make contact with us if they are unsure of their legal obligations.