Young people are being encouraged to think again when considering a tattoo.
North Tyneside Council and Northumbria Police have launched a joint campaign which warns anyone who gets a tattoo under the age of 18 is breaking the law and could be putting their health at risk.
Senior environmental health officer Paul Sanderson and Neighbourhood Beat Manager Pc Carly Zawodzinski have visited John Spence Community High School, in North Shields, as part of the pilot initiative.
They are also distributing advice cards and visiting tattoo studios to remind owners of their responsibilities and asking them to display warning posters.
Coun John Harrison, cabinet member for housing and environment, said: “It is vital that young people understand the law regarding underage tattoos and the risks to health by approaching unregistered tattooists.”
Chief Inspector Jamie Pitt, of North Tyneside Area Command, said: “This campaign has been designed to give people an important reminder about the laws around tattooing.
“We know there are unregistered tattooists operating who are breaking the law.”
He added: “Young people considering visiting such premises need to know it will not have been inspected or the tattoo equipment checked to make sure it’s clean and suitable for use.
“They then run the risk of serious infection, disease or being permanently scarred if they go ahead and have the tattoo.
“I hope the school visits and the campaign reinforce these messages and make young people think twice before considering a tattoo while also letting those tattooists breaking the law know that we will take action against them.”
Headteacher Jim Stephenson said: “At John Spence we take our school motto ‘Fit for Life’ very seriously indeed – it is central to the opportunities that we try to provide for our students through sport, diet and activities.
“Working with North Tyneside Council and Northumbria Police to raise awareness of this issue among our students is too valuable an opportunity to miss.”
The campaign was developed after a boy and girl aged both aged 16 were tattooed in North Tyneside last year. Their parents brought the incidents to the attention of the council’s environmental health team.
John Spence Community High School was chosen for the campaign because it is within the North Shields area – home to more than half of the borough’s tattoo studios.
Paul Sanderson and PC Zawodzinski visited the school on Thursday, February 27, giving a presentation to the Year 10 assembly.
The pair will also be delivering sessions about tattooing to six classes as part of the school’s lifestyle choices curriculum.
If the visits to John Spence Community High School prove popular then the council and police will explore rolling them out to other schools in the borough.
Anyone seeking further information regarding tattooing in North Tyneside should contact 0345 2000 101 and ask for environmental health.