News item

Unlicensed tattooist prosecuted and fined

City of York Council has today (6 March 2014) at York Magistrates Court successfully prosecuted an unlicensed tattooist operating from unregistered premises. 

Andrew Dennis of 3 Cygnet Street, York was charged for and pleaded guilty to two offences of carrying out tattooing without being registered and operating from unregistered premises on 23 July 2013 and 13 August 2013. 

The Chair of the bench told Mr Dennis that his actions had been “a substantial risk to health and even death to members of  the public”.

The unlicensed premises at 4a Boroughbridge Road were raided by City of York Council following a tip-off by a member of the public in August 2013. The tattooist’s customer contacted the council’s environmental health team because following two tattooing sessions with Mr Dennis at 4a Boroughbridge Road, York, the skin around the tattoo developed an infection.

Tattooing businesses must be registered with the council. The premises and equipment used must meet legal standards of cleanliness and registered tattooists are required to work to recognised standards, which will minimise the likelihood of infection.

Having tried to discuss the matter with Mr Dennis, who at first denied tattooing and operating without being registered, the council used expert evidence from Public Health England, to obtain a court order to search his home with North Yorkshire Police. They seized a number of pieces of tattooing equipment found there.

Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Adult Social Services, said: “Only use a registered tattooist who operates from registered premises. Everyone who is registered will have a certificate issued by the council and you should ask to see it or, to confirm that a tattooist’s registration is valid, call (01904) 551525. While the council regularly checks standards at registered tattoo parlours, those who aren’t registered tattooists go unchecked and could put their customers’ health at risk.

“It might be cheaper, but the quality of an unregistered tattooist’s work is likely to be poor and, even if you’re not charged for it, it is still illegal. Anyone who knows of a tattooist operating illegally, is urged to give the council as much detail as possible to help protect others contracting potentially life-threatening infections.”

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, Director of Health and Wellbeing at City of York Council, said: “As tattooing and body piercing becomes more common, improper or unsanitary methods used in these procedures can carry high health risks in the short and long-term. These can include infections from Staphylococci and Streptococci bacteria which, in rare cases, cause invasive infections that can result in severe illness, septicaemia, amputation or death and, in particular, the risk of the transmission of blood-borne viruses like hepatitis B, C and HIV.”

Dr Simon Padfield of Public Health England said: “Anyone who has had a tattoo in the past from an unregistered tattooist and is concerned should contact their GP who will be able to offer tests for blood-borne viruses.”

To register as a tattooist in York, the necessary forms and current charges can be found at – search ‘tattooing – or go to

A Tattoo and Body Piercing Guidance Toolkit has been published by Public Health England and is available for businesses and regulators at:


Notes to Editors

The council’s five key priorities for 2011-2015 are:

  • Create jobs and grow the economy
  • Get York moving
  • Build strong communities
  • Protect vulnerable people
  • Protect the environment

 The council’s cabinet member for Health, Housing and Adult Social Services is Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing on 07761460134

For further information please contact: 

Megan Rule

Communications Officer

City of York Council

Tel: 01904 552017

Fax: 01904 551064

Mob/out of hours: 07767318082


DATE: 6 March 2014