environmental health officers issued a warning yesterday after an increase in the number of so-called “tattoo parties” being held in private homes.
Officers at Barnsley Council said they had received escalating reports about the parties and added that unregulated operators could cause serious illnesses
A spokesman said: “Having a tattoo is not something to be taken lightly – once done it is permanent and you have to live with it for the rest of your life.
“Tattoo removal is expensive and always leaves a mark on the skin. This is why it is illegal to tattoo anyone below the age of 18.
“Each year Barnsley doctors and hospital staff have to treat injuries caused by infections. Some like hepatitis are life threatening, others cause the skin to be scarred or disfigured for life.
“Being tattooed in your own home can increase the risk of infection and if done in someone else’s home can increase the risk still further.
“Add a few friends, their pets, children, alcoholic drinks, and an unregulated tattooist and you are asking for trouble.”
Tattooist shops must be registered with the council and the standards of hygiene and safety are checked and monitored by health and safety officers.
The council said tattoo parties cannot be inspected because they are only present for a short time but unregistered tattooists can be prosecuted.
Last week Barnsley Regulatory Services found an illegal tattooist advertising tattoo parties on Facebook. He was ordered to stop the activity.
Coun Roy Miller, Barnsley’s regulatory services spokesman said: “We would advise that people should only have a tattoo applied in a registered tattooist’s shop.
“Barnsley is the cheapest place in the region to register to become a tattooist or skin piercer so there is no reason for tattoo artists to be unregistered unless they know that they cannot comply with hygiene and safety requirements.”