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12 August 2015, 06:28 | Updated: 12 August 2015, 11:26
People in Peterborough are being advised to visit a registered tattooist if they are planning on getting a tattoo.
It follows a number of reports of unregistered tattooists, or Scratchers, operating in the city.
Under the law tattooists must be registered with the city council. As part of the registration process an officer would visit to ensure that the practitioner has controls in place to prevent a blood borne infection such as HIV or hepatitis.
Cleaning and disinfection, personal hygiene and sterilisation of equipment is essential for ensuring the tattoo process is safe. Unregistered tattooists have not been licenced or inspected and often have poor cleaning standards and infection control.
City council officers have seized equipment from illegal tattooists and are carrying out further investigations.
Samantha Olive, principal environmental health officer at Peterborough City Council, said: "Anyone who has had a tattoo from unregistered tattooists could be at risk of a number of blood borne infections. Infections like hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV often have no symptoms until they have been present for many years, but can be treated if they are picked up early.
"If you think you might be at risk you should go to a sexual health clinic or to your GP to talk about getting a blood test.
"Unscrupulous tattooists are able to undercut legitimate businesses because they don't spend money on equipment such as a steam steriliser.
"The issue is becoming more prevalent as people set up businesses from home and tattoo equipment is becoming more widely available and cheaper on the internet."