Tattoo equipment seized from unlicensed artists in Peterborough.

Tattoo gun

Tattoo gun - Credit: Archant

Illegal tattoists, known as scratchers, have had equipment seized from shops in Peterborough prompting a call for people to make sure they visit a registered artist before agreeing to be inked.

Under the law tattooists must be registered with the local council and as part of the registration process an officer visits to ensure the practitioner has controls in place to prevent a blood borne infection like HIV or hepatitis.

Samantha Olive, principal environmental health officer at Peterborough City Council, said: “Anyone who has had a tattoo from unregistered tattooists could be at risk of a number of blood borne infections.

“Infections like hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV often have no symptoms until they have been present for many years, but can be treated if they are picked up early.

“If you think you might be at risk you should go to a sexual health clinic or to your GP to talk about getting a blood test.

“Unscrupulous tattooists are able to undercut legitimate businesses because they don’t spend money on equipment such as a steam steriliser.

“The issue is becoming more prevalent as people set up businesses from home and tattoo equipment is becoming more widely available and cheaper on the internet.”

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Cleaning and disinfection, personal hygiene and sterilisation of equipment is essential for ensuring the tattoo process is safe. Unregistered tattooists have not been licenced or inspected and often have poor cleaning standards and infection control, she said.

City council officers have seized equipment from illegal tattooists in Peterborough and are carrying out further investigations.

If you have concerns about a possible unregistered tattooist please contact the Food and Safety Team at Peterborough City Council on 01733 747474 or e-mail

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