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The Environmental Health Department is not responsible for any issues relating to under-age tattooing or piercing. The information given below is for guidance only. These are all matters that should be dealt with by the Police or through a solicitor.
The Environmental Health Department will investigate matters relating to safety, hygiene and infection control.
Owing to the permanence of a tattoo, the Tattooing of Minors Act 1969 Imposes an age limit of 18 years on persons to be tattooed.
A tattoo artist cannot tattoo an under 18 even if they gain parental permission.
It is strongly recommended that a tattoo artist asks for identification such as a passport or driving licence and makes a record of that identification, in case they are queried in the future.
The Tattooing of Minors Act is enforced by the Police. Preston Police station can be contacted on 01772 203203.
(When properly applied semi-permanent make-up is not by definition permanent, however if a permanent mark were to be made, a practitioner is at risk of falling foul of the Tattooing of Minors Act, if the client is under 18).
Piercing another persons body in the guise of fashion, beauty or for ritual purposes is a potentially serious offence under a variety of statutes.
Cosmetic Piercing is legal and is regulated, whether nipples or genital piercing is an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 depends on whether it is considered to be sexual. If it is, a person over 13 can consent to it, but a child under 13 cannot. If it is not sexual then it can still be classed as an assault under common law or under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
There is no statutory limit on the age at which persons can have their body pierced. It is often thought that a person who is under sixteen may not have sufficient maturity to make the decision to have their ears or belly button pierced etc.. However, a decision by the high court ruled that under sixteen’s can probably give consent, if the piercer judges them to have reached sufficient maturity to fully understand the implication's of their request and if they are given sufficient information for them to make a sound decision.
Therefore if it can be established that the young person has not reached sufficient maturity and did not receive sufficient information for them to make the decision then the piercer would be vulnerable to accusation's of assault. This would be a Police matter.
Practices such as braiding, beading, branding, amputation and tongue splitting have no specific legislation to regulate them, and as such the courts are likely to find such levels of harm to persons unlawful. This is yet to be tested in court and given their association with body art, due consideration would be given to the fact that such practices are likely to be undertaken from premises legally regulated for other skin piercing activities.
All complaints should be directed to the Police on 01772 203203.
If you require help with something in this section, please contact us.