Think before you ink: Uttlesford District Council warns of the dangers of unregistered tattooists

Nearly 30 per cent of British people aged between 25 and 34 years are said to have one or more. But as tattoos continue to rise in popularity, Uttlesford District Council is urging people to check if their tattooist is fully registered before getting inked.

There is a marked increase in number of unregistered tattooists who often operate in residential properties, garden sheds and pubs or advertising home visits on the internet.

Unregistered tattooists pose a real danger to public safety, with users putting themselves at risk of contracting infections such as hepatitis and HIV, according to UDC.

People are being advised to check the following criteria before having a tattoo:

• Check that the establishment is registered with the local authority

• Ask to see examples of the person’s work

• Ensure that you have read and signed a consent and medical form

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• Make sure tattoos are done with new needles. If you don’t see the needle removed from a sealed package, don’t allow the tattoo to be done

• The tattoo artist should always wash their hands and put on a fresh pair of medical-type gloves before each new procedure

• Ensure that you are given advice on the aftercare for your tattoo

Geoff Smith, head of Environmental Health at the district council, said: “People are often tempted away from registered tattooists by cheap prices and cut-price deals offered by illegal operators who often use substandard equipment and inadequate sterilisation. They are also less likely to check the age of the customer and they are less likely to ask about the medical history of the client.

“As a result of looking for a bargain the public are exposing themselves to a risk of a serious skin infection or blood-borne virus and the tattoos are also often of poor quality due to the lack of training

of the tattooist or the inks used may not be suitable for tattooing. We want to urge people to check that their tattooist is registered before getting a tattoo.”

If people have any concerns they should leave the premises and report their concerns to Environmental Health on 01799 510482 or e-mail It should be noted the registration only covers the safety practices of the premises and is not an indication of the quality of the tattooist’s work.

If members of the public are aware of persons carrying out unregistered tattooing, they should contact the council as they are putting the public at risk. Any concerns of underage tattooing (under 18) should be reported to Essex Police on 101.