A CAMPAIGN has been launched with the hope of encouraging people to ‘Think before you ink’.

Wigan Council has launched its campaign to raise awareness of the laws around getting tattoos to deter people using ‘scratchers’ – illegal tattoo artist.

And licensed tattoo artists and tattoo businesses across the borough are backing the appeal by displaying posters.

Karl Fletcher from Fleckys Tattoo Studio in Golborne, said: “I think the campaign is 10 out of 10 for what is needed in Wigan. Everyone I have spoken to has said they were impressed.

“We must get more than five phone calls a week from parents saying their child is 16 or 17 can they get a tattoo and we tell them no it’s illegal. But I can imagine others don’t.”

It is against the law to tattoo a person under the age of 18, even with parental consent and anyone found guilty can be fined up to £1,000.

It is also against the law for any tattoo artist or business to operate without first being registered with the council.

Cllr Keith Cunliffe, cabinet member for adult and social care said: “The boom in popularity of tattoos means that there is more demand than ever in the borough for tattoo artists.

“But who you choose for your tattoo is just as important as what your design will be.

“Registered tattoo artists and premises have undergone checks by Wigan Council and have had their hygienic standards assessed and have support from us in areas like infection control training.

“Illegal tattooists, known as scratchers, don’t have these kinds of checks so you could be at increased risk to your health.

“Your tattoo could become infected and there is a chance of contracting an infection, particularly blood borne infections such as hepatitis and HIV.”

A list of registered tattoo artists and premises can be found at wigan.gov.uk/thinkbeforeyouink

Underage tattooing should be reported to the police by calling 101 and pressing option one.