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Tattooist practising on underage girls found guilty

Stuart Spear16/09/2015 - 11:50

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The court ordered the tattoo kit to be destroyed
The court ordered the tattoo kit to be destroyed

EHOs from Wrexham have worked with North Wales Police to successfully prosecute a tattooist working out of his own home tattooing young girls aged 15 and 16.

EHOs first became aware that an unregistered tattooist was working on underage girls in their area after the mother of one of the teenagers complained to Wrexham County Borough Council about a tattoo her daughter had received.

The tattoo was of a very poor quality in the form of a large handwritten script on the girl’s thigh. The tattooist was charging pocket money prices of around £20 per tattoo.

‘We interviewed the mother and we interviewed the girl who also made a statement to the police,’ said Neil Underwood principal manager food and health and safety for Wrexham County Borough Council.

‘Then a couple of other girls came forward also having been tattooed by the same person who was not registered or known to us at all and doing it from a private domestic property.’

 Tattooing children under the age of 18 is illegal under the Tattooing of Minors Act 1969, which is enforced by the police who arrested the tattooist, Richard Owen Jones from Rhos in Wrexham, early in the investigation. The case involved five tattoos on four under-aged girls with one of the teenagers returning for a second tattoo.

It is a legal requirement that anyone carrying out tattooing is registered. Mr Owen Jones admitted to offences under the Tattooing of Minors Act and of failing to register with the local authority under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. 

Police initially attempted to take five charges of assault against Mr Owen Jones but the charges were dropped at the last moment by the Crown Prosecution Service. ‘Talking to the police they said you need to prove immediate danger or fear of being harmed and if you present yourself for a tattoo it would be difficult to prove as you know what is going to happen to you,’ said Mr Underwood.

Mr Owen Jones was found guilty at the end of August of five offences of tattooing a minor and one of failing to register with the local authority. He was fined a total of £600 and a court order was issued for the destruction of his tattooing equipment. He was also banned from ever registering a premises for tattooing in the future.

Since the case two other unregistered tattooist practicing from their homes, known as scratchers, have voluntarily given up their equipment and said they no longer wish to practice.

‘The problem is we don’t really know the scale of the problem because it is only via complaints or dissatisfied customers that it is likely to come to light as it is difficult to keep tabs on people practising in their own houses,’ said Mr Underwood.  












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