Suspected illegal tattoo studios under investigation in Great Yarmouth

A number of suspected illegal tattoo studios are being investigated by Great Yarmouth borough council officers.

The unlicensed businesses are believed to be operating from unregistered premises in the borough.

Harriett Sealey from Great Yarmouth Borough Council's environmental health service, said: 'The borough council works with existing tattoo premises in the borough to ensure that all the relevant hygiene standards are met.

'We are currently investigating reports that some unregistered tattooists in the borough are offering tattoo services from unlicensed premises.

'We will investigate all allegations and take appropriate action against the individuals offering these services and we urge residents to only have tattoos done at the licensed tattooists in the borough – where good hygiene standards are met.'

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Anyone wanting to start up a tattoo establishment in the borough is required to apply for both a premises and personal registration.

This is issued by the council's environmental health service following inspection of the premises and interview with the applicant. The borough of Yarmouth has very strict by-laws that must be adhered to in licensed establishments.

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These relate specifically to infection control and cleaning.

A copy of the licence should be displayed in the premise.

Contaminated tattooing equipment can spread serious diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis and septicaemia.

Tattooists must follow adequate cleaning procedures and have suitable cleaning equipment to ensure that equipment is sterilised between uses.

If the tattooist does not use sterilised equipment or shares ink between customers there is a risk of spreading diseases like bacterial infections and skin conditions, such as dermatitis.

The council is also working with local police to ensure that establishments have procedures in place to eliminate underage tattooing.

It is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18.

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