CALLS have been made for more control of illegitimate tattoo artists amid fears too many unregistered businesses are operating in Blackpool.
Town hall chiefs want to lobby Government to set up recognised qualifications for the tattooing and body piercing industry.
Blackpool Council already has a local inspection and registration regime, under health and safety powers, and is proposing a new code of practice.
There are currently 35 licensed tattoo parlours in Blackpool.
But a report to the council’s executive warns: “There are an unknown number of clandestine unregistered operators.”
It adds: “There is a flourishing informal community not operating as legitimate businesses but who have access to cheap tattooing kits and who operate outside the band of existing legislation.”
In September it emerged children as young as 13 had had illegal tattoos done in Blackpool.
Council and police officers raided two houses in Layton and Marton.
Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member with responsibility for trading standards on Blackpool Council, said: “Tattooing is a popular trade in Blackpool and is safe when done by trained professionals.
“When small home starters with no credentials or training operate however, it can be very dangerous.
“We don’t want to make trade more difficult for tattooists, but we do need a system of regulation in place to protect the public, as well as quality traders, from the sub standard market.
“That is why we would look to bring in an accreditation which can be recognised as a label which can be used to make sure those responsible traders are able to thrive, while stopping members of the public falling victim to rogue tattooists.”
Going to an untrained tattooist puts people at risk of dangerous infections including hepatitis, HIV and blood poisoning.
The raids came after a complaint was made by the parents of a 14-year-old girl.
Equipment seized from one teenager’s house included ink stained needles, tattoo books, tracing paper covered in designs and a skull inking gun.
Blackpool’s executive will consider the issue when it meets next Wednesday.