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Tattoo ink and needles

A campaign aimed at ridding the tattoo industry of unhygienic or bad practice has been introduced by North Devon Council. 

The campaign, termed 'ThINK it through before you tattoo' aims to provide residents with information about the required hygiene standards and risks of bad practice so that they can make a safer choice when deciding where to get a tattoo. As part of the campaign, the council has launched a form for reporting bad practice in the industry and updated its list of registered tattooists in the district.

The campaign has been welcomed by the district's tattooists, who are keen to flush out 'scratchers'; people that are not registered to tattoo and may be doing so from unregistered premises, including their home. The council hopes that by raising the profile of their regulation of the tattoo industry in the district, residents will be given the confidence to make safer choices for their tattoos - and report any bad practice or hygiene.

Head of Environmental Health at North Devon Council, Jeremy Mann says: "We are really keen to let residents know about the important work we do to regulate standards in the skin piercing industry. Making a bad choice when it comes to tattoos or tattooing practices such as microblading can have catastrophic health consequences, so it's incredibly important that people think it through before they tattoo. 

"Knowing what to expect in terms of hygiene and cleanliness and being able to identify registered tattooists and avoid scratchers will minimise any risks. Scratchers give the tattoo industry a bad name and we know from speaking to the registered tattooists in the district that they're as eager as we are to see an end to unregulated tattooing. We urge people with any information about illegal tattooists or bad practice to report this to us so we can investigate.

"Our message to residents is clear: 'ThINK it through before you tattoo' to ensure you end up with a tattoo you love, not a permanent mark you'll forever regret." 

Residents can visit the council's website to read about the risks of bad practice, find registered tattooists in North Devon and report bad practice at