more than half of tattooists and skin piercers inspected in a borough in Yorkshire need to make improvements to meet official safety standards, a survey has found.
Checks carried out by Barnsley Council officials revealed work is needed by businesses to fully comply with skin piercing byelaws and hygiene practices.
They are also warning unregistered practitioners that efforts are being stepped up to track down illegal operators.
All 42 registered premises in the area have been visited in the last six months following a seminar hosted by the council setting out the importance of good hygiene.
Inspectors discovered that more than half needed to improve practices and were handed advice to ensure they complied with legal requirements.
Further investigations were also undertaken to prevent unregistered practitioners, known as “scratchers”, operating in the area.
Officials warn that undergoing tattoos or skin piercings by unregistered practitioners can lead to risk of infection and even disfigurement.
Coun Roy Miller, Cabinet spokesman for development, environment and culture, said: “Young people are particularly at risk from unscrupulous tattooists who do not work in hygienic studios and often visit clients at their home, undermining the legitimate trade.
“We are increasing our investigations into illegal operators and appropriate enforcement action will be taken against those who flout the law including confiscation of their equipment.”
Anyone with information about unregistered businesses, or who have had infected tattoos or piercings, are urged to contact the council’s regulatory services unit on 01226 772468.