Children as young as 10 having tattoos

A tattoo being inked

A tattoo being inked

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WIGAN children as young as 10 are having tattoos illegally, a shock new report reveals.

A borough survey shows that parlours are continuously breaking the law by inking youngsters by the dozen – some of them of primary school age.

This survey shows that many young people are unaware of the laws which govern tattooists and their premises. This is a real concern especially considering the potential health risks of using an unregistered tattooist

Coun Keith Cunliffe

Wigan Council’s Think Before You Ink campaign aims to raise awareness over the laws surrounding tattoos and as part of the campaign carried out a survey of young people aged up to 19 on the subject.

The results showed 28 per cent of the 146 16 to 19-year-old quizzed had one or more tattoos.

One fell into the 10 to 12 age group when they had their first, and four of them was aged between 13 and 14 years old when they first visited a parlour.

In total it showed 62.5 per cent of those with designs indelibly printed on their bodies had had them done illegally as it is an offence to tattoo someone under 18. Many of those questioned said they had conducted checks on parlours before they visited, but in one case the person questioned admitted tattooing themselves aged 15.

More than one in three of those who filled in the questionnaire did not know that they could not have a tattoo under the age of 18, even with parental consent.

And 53 per cent did not know they were at an increased risk of contracting infections such as HIV or hepatitis if they used an unregistered tattooist.

The overall results of the survey showed that a large number of people were unaware of the laws surrounding tattooing and in particular under-age tattooing.

Coun Keith Cunliffe, portfolio holder for health and adult social care, said: “This survey shows that many young people are unaware of the laws which govern tattooists and their premises.

“This is a real concern especially considering the potential health risks of using an unregistered tattooist.

“Our Think Before You Ink campaign is being rolled out to colleges across the borough to raise awareness amongst young people.”

Tattooists and their premises must be registered with Wigan Council.

To find out more about Think Before You Ink and for details on registered tattooists visit http://www.wigan.gov.uk/Business/Health-and-Safety/Job-types/Tattooist.aspx

The campaign encourages people to report illegal tattooing activity including tattoos being done in unregistered premises or by an unregistered artist; and concerns of poor hygiene observed in tattoo studios.