News item

Unregistered tattooist prosecuted

An illegal “scratcher” who tattooed people in her home when she was not registered to do so has been prosecuted by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Environmental Health department. 
  
The successful case against Lisa Gough, of Bryntirion once again highlights the ongoing, proactive work being undertaken by Council officers, responding to the concerns of residents and also those tattoo businesses that work hard to operate within the law. 
  
In August last year, officers received reports that Lisa, aged 36, was tattooing people in her front room. 
  
Officers discovered she had been operating illegally since April of that year and attended Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court to secure an order under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, which allowed potentially dangerous and contaminating tattoo equipment to be removed from her home. 
  
They attended the address on September 20 last year and found Gough’s front room laid out as if it was a tattoo studio, with a tattoo chair/bed on one side of the room and a work station with boxes and drawers of tattoo equipment on the other. 
  
A subsequent investigation showed Gough was not registered with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and neither was her home address. Under Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 tattooists are required, by law, to ensure they and their premises are registered with the local authority in which they operate. 
  
As a result, she was charged with two offences of failing to register herself and her premises, as required by law. 
  
She admitted the charges when she appeared at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court on April 25 this year. She was given full credit for her early guilty plea and cooperation with the Council investigation and was fined £350 and ordered to pay costs of £150 and a victim surcharge of £35. 
  
David Jones, Head of Community Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, explained: “This is the latest in a series of successful cases against “scratchers”. We know this is a concern for our communities as they are ringing us up to report such dangerous, unregistered activity. 
  
“We work so hard to raise awareness of registration and ensure compliance from the industry because it is vital tattoo artists have good knowledge, skills and experience and  are aware of the health and hygiene standards they, their premises and their equipment must meet. 
  
“Tattooing involves puncturing the skin with a needle and, with that, comes the risk of serious blood infections, which could be life threatening, as well as other complications. 
  
“As well as the potentially serious health implications, scratchers are also damaging the trade of the many other tattoo businesses we have here in Rhondda Cynon Taf that work hard to uphold the law and offer the best-possible service to their customer. 
  
“Our advice to all residents remains that they must use only registered premises and 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.” 
  
Ends   
  
For more information contact: Sian Hickman 
Media Manager 
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council 
01443 424007/07747 485732 

DATE: 02 May 2014