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How much did your tattoo really cost?

What's the real cost is the message behind a poster campaign launched this week in schools across Tameside warning teenagers of the dangers of having illegal tattoos.

Any tattoo given to an under 18 year old is illegal, but it's the health risks attached to using unregistered tattooists which this campaign is aimed at and not just the money involved.

If the tattooist is not registered with the council it means you cannot be sure the equipment they're using is safe and clean from killer diseases such as Hepatitis, the blood disease septicaemia and the HIV virus.

The poster, which has the diseases 'tattooed' on the model's back, is intended to shock youngsters into thinking about the risks or coming forward if they think they've had an illegal tattoo down in the past.

Council environmental health investigators came up with the poster idea following a recent health scare surrounding an investigation into an unregistered tattooist in Dukinfield late last year.

They discovered that he had tattooed a number of local underage youngsters which prompted a publicity drive to get unsuspecting customers to come forward for testing.

When a public call was put on BBC TV 100s of worried teenagers called the special hotline with stories of tattoos they'd had done, most illegally.

Executive member for environmental services Cllr Catherine Piddington said: "I am not sure people are even aware it's illegal for an under-18 to have a tattoo, let alone the obvious dangers to your health if you have one done by an unregistered tattooist.

"Unless the tattooist is registered with the council you have absolutely no guarantees the equipment they're using has been cleaned since the last person or even that week!

"Thinking about that makes me shudder and certainly leaves me wondering what's going through their heads while they're having it done. Normally in unclean conditions, using dirty equipment and they're invariably of a substandard quality as well.

"And of course because they've been done illegally you won't have the same customer's rights as you would normally."

Picture of Dr Loraine Lighton (Consultant for Communicable Disease Control), Kate Wooff (PCT Director of Public Health) Cllr Catherine Piddington (Executive member for the environment) Aaron Withnell  (lad getting tattooed) and Mick Richmond
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