CALLS have been made for stricter controls over Blackpool’s burgeoning body art businesses.
Town hall chiefs have agreed to investigate the possibility of the introduction of a training scheme for tattoo artists who want to operate in the resort.
There are currently 35 licensed tattoo parlours in Blackpool, with some also offering body piercing.
At the moment, although council inspectors visit tattoo parlours to ensure they comply with health and safety rules, tattooists are not required to hold a recognised qualification.
Two years ago, Blackpool Council’s public protection sub-committee agreed to set up a register of tattoo artists but so far the initiative has not gone ahead.
Coun Tony Lee said: “Under current regulations anyone can open a tattoo studio and call themselves tattoo artists.
“Tattooing kits are easily and cheaply available on internet sites and individuals can purchase these, lease a property and as long as it conforms to health and safety and planning, start to operate as a tattooist.
“You don’t need to prove you can actually do it or demonstrate how proficient you are and it’s the customers who are taking all the risk.
“Historically tattooists used to undergo a two year apprenticeship before even considering starting their own business, nowadays anyone can become a tattoo artist with or without training.”
Blackpool Council has now agreed to hold a review of the industry with a view to developing a formal accreditation scheme.
Coun Lee added: “There are some existing studios that provide expensive training, some that last just for a day, others for two weeks but the certificates they provide are not recognised by any governing legal body.
“Blackpool has a very long history in regard to tattooing and we have some excellent and extremely artistic established artists working in the town, however apart from word of mouth there is nothing to distinguish these superb artists from a very inexperienced operator.”