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Is your tattooist registered?


It is illegal to give someone a tattoo unless the premises and tattooist are both registered with us. Unregistered tattooists, or 'scratchers', do neither, often operating from kitchens or bedrooms in their homes.

If you're looking to get a tattoo, don't be tempted into a cheaper rate offered by an unregistered tattooist as it's simply not worth the risk.

Health risks

Unregistered tattooists may operate in unhygienic conditions with poor quality equipment bought online. If equipment isn't sterilised properly or strict hygiene requirements haven't been adhered to, there could be an increased risk to your health. Your tattoo could result in scarring, an infection or transmission of a blood borne disease such as Hepatitis B and HIV.

Underage tattooing

The Tattooing of Minors Act 1969 states that it is an offence to tattoo a person under the age of 18. Unregistered tattooists operate illegally and can be negligent when it comes to checking the age of their customers. Report underage tattooing to the police by calling 101 or contact us.

Check the tattooist register

There are over 70 registered tattooists in County Durham. Choose a tattooist registered with us from the  Icon for pdf Body Art Premises Register (PDF, 720.9kb) , which is updated online twice a year.

Report any concerns

If you're concerned about a tattooist working in your area or think someone is operating illegally, contact us.

Keeping safe

If you're getting a tattoo, there are a number of things you can check to keep you safe:

  • If, after checking the Body Art register, you're still unsure whether the premises you've selected is licensed, please contact us‚Äč.
  • Make sure that the establishment is spotlessly clean and that equipment is sterilised. Don't be afraid to ask how they sterilise if you would like peace of mind. (Equipment should be sterilised in a special machine called an autoclave. Alternatively, a tattooist may use sealed, sterile equipment that is disposed of after one use.)
  • Make sure tattoos are done with new needles - walk away if you don't see the needle being removed from a sealed package.
  • The tattooist should always wash their hands and put on a fresh pair of medical-type gloves before they begin.
Contact us
Safety and Occupational Health
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • Environment, Health and Consumer Protect
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
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