Does the EHO Care about Unlicensed Tattooers?

Today, I’ve been talking to a tattoo artist called Chris Cracknell, who works at New Image Studios over here in the UK. Chris tells me that there are unlicensed studios opening up in his area, and the EHO are doing nothing about it. In fact, not only are they waiting until some kid has hepatitis before they act, they are also allowing every application for registration to be approved, regardless of whether they are safe or not.

Sadly, the EHO not caring about the health and safety of tattooing does not surprise me. However, I still think we need to spread the word about this sort of thing before people get really hurt. If you can think of any way we could help Chris fight the EHO’s pathetically lazy decisions, please let me know!

Anyway, here is the story, in Chris’ own words:

Where to start ? firstly when I moved into Felixstowe some 20 years ago, I had lots of hoops to jump through as, the council did not want a tattoo studio in town , from the onset of the public notice placed on my shops door that read ” the council objects to the proposed development as, it falls within a conservation area ” ;
I was granted change of use and health registration but ! it was set out that I could not open before 10am and must not be open after 6pm, neither could I open on a bank holiday Sunday !
That all aside,a few years later when I wanted to move the studio, was informed that I could not have a studio in the town center, so I bought the premises that I am now in;
Again, I waited about 6 weeks for all the relevant regs etc. and change of use to to granted before I opened up;
That’s the background of my studio in the town.
A couple of years ago another person opened a tattoo studio on the sea front, I had many phone calls etc. to the EHO and they allowed the studio to remain open even though no health registration or change of use was granted until about four months later ! even though this studio advertises that it opens at 6am on a Sunday ! .
Now comes this new studio, I checked the planning dept. and, the EHO and also no health registrations were in force,it was mentioned to me that this studio would open last sat, that has now been updated to next sat;
I called the planning depot and, informed them as to what was going on [ The studio is in the town centre ? where I could not open ] they checked the list and, indeed NO change of use had been granted or indeed applied for, the shop needs a change of use as it is in a different listing to what it would be used for now.
I asked if they would go down and close the place as it has no change of use and, I was told ” I will pass on the information to our enforcement team but, it could take 4-6 weeks for us to visit as we are busy just now !.
Next came the phone call to the EHO, again he checked his lists and, NO personal registration had been granted or applied for, nor had there been any granted for the studio,so I asked him if ” he would go down to the studio and enforce a closure notice on them ”
The answer was ” we are busy just now and a visit would be unlikely unless the studio posed a health risk to the public”well how would he know unless he did a visit ?
I was also informed on weds this week that they had received the paperwork from the people/person who plans to open the studio, as he did indeed pop in to have a look, maybe because the local paper had contacted him about the very issues I had concerns over; He did say that it appeared there had been no evidence of any tattooing going on ! well no evidence and not happening are two different things;Also this was a quick visit, not an inspection for registration.
The EHO also said the they do not have the power to close the shop as, they need to apply to a court to order a closure, the person can work from the studio and apply at a later date, if a registration if refused the people can still work while an appeal is in place so, all in all it looks like anyone can open what ever they like when they like with no fear of a closure notice.
After inspecting the Suffolk coastal district councils web site, it also appears that they CAN NOT REFUSE anyone who applies for registration ? why then do we even need to register ? it makes no sense what so ever.
Between the lines Mel, it means that any town could have anyone open a tattoo studio any where they like, with no change of use, no personal or shop health regs, no experience, and no fear of a refusal or closure notice.
Now if that is not a health concern for any district I do not know what is.

Utterly disgraceful. Please help if you know any ways of helping Chris, and those local to these terrible studios!

Thanks to both Chris and Sharron Caudill for this post!

4 Responses to “Does the EHO Care about Unlicensed Tattooers?”
  1. Jonik says:

    Hi Mel, just a short but very relevant point, i think we can all look into this issue more so and do what we can to deal with it! To Chris and anyone else having this problem, here is an explanation of the meaning of, ‘Negligence in Law’;

    Negligence (Lat. negligentia, from neglegere, to neglect, literally “not to pick up something”) is a legal concept in the common law legal systems mostly applied in tort cases to achieve monetary compensation (damages) for physical and mental injuries (not accidents).
    Negligence is a type of tort or delict (also known as a civil wrong). “Negligence” is not the same as “carelessness”, because someone might be exercising as much care as they are capable of, yet still fall below the level of competence expected of them. They could also be aware of the issues, yet choose to put the issue aside because they underestimated the importance. It is the opposite of “diligence”. It can be generally defined as conduct that is culpable because it falls short of what a reasonable person would do to protect another individual from foreseeable risks of harm. In the words of Lord Blackburn,
    “those who go personally or bring property where they know that they or it may come into collision with the persons or property of others have by law a duty cast upon them to use reasonable care and skill to avoid such a collision.” Fletcher v Rylands ([1866] LR 1 Ex 265)
    Through civil litigation, if an injured person proves that another person acted negligently to cause his injury, he can recover damages to compensate for his harm. Proving a case for negligence can potentially entitle the injured plaintiff to compensation for harm to their body, property, mental well-being, financial status, or intimate relationships. However, because negligence cases are very fact-specific, this general definition does not fully explain the concept of when the law will require one person to compensate another for losses caused by accidental injury. Further, the law of negligence at common law is only one aspect of the law of liability. Although resulting damages must be proven in order to recover compensation in a negligence action, the nature and extent of those damages are not the primary focus of negligence cases.

    Hopefully this will help, maybe going to the EHO and saying that unless they act swiftly and responsibly, they could themselves be held responsible under this Law, for Negligence, should a person or persons do or receive damage as a result of a Scratcher! trying to tattoo them!

    Let me know if this helps.

    • Mel Noir says:

      Jonik, you’re a star as always. I think you’re definitely onto something though! My brain is fried after this week, but I think a look in the old Criminal Law book might be worth something too, I’m sure we did loads of stuff about this in college. Marisa over at Needles and Sins might be a good source of information, too. I’ll have a look into all of this stuff over the weekend, mate :)
      Is it cool with you if I post this reply up onto a post on the site? I think it’s pretty cool :)

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