A TEENAGE girl and a man have been charged by police over claims they were tattooing girls as young as 12.
The pair are alleged to have contacted four young girls over social networking sites and offered them cheap tattoos at an address in Paisley.
The Paisley Daily Express can reveal that the 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl are to face four charges of illegally tattooing minors.
The alleged victims – girls aged 12 and 15, and two 13-year-olds – were all said to have been contacted by either Facebook or Blackberry Messenger.
Local sources told the Express that the high school pupils arranged to meet the supposed tattoo artists in the car park of the ALDI store in Paisley’s Fulbar Road.
They were then said to have been taken to a makeshift parlour in a house in the Foxbar area to have the inkwork done.
It’s understood that furious parents later spotted the tattoos on their daughters’ bodies and contacted police.
It is a criminal offence to tattoo anyone under the age of 18.
Yesterday, an industry professional said that the practice of illegal tattooing is placing kids at risk of Hepatitis C.
Tattooist Sharon Fox, who used to work in Paisley before opening a parlour in Glasgow, said the activity has become “worryingly rife” in recent years.
“It’s skyrocketed in the past two years and I would advise people 100 per cent to stay away from these types of situations,” she said.
“Foreign companies, particularly in China, sell cheap instruments that are readily available over the net and don’t have the same standards applied to them.
“The main dangers are bloodborne illnesses, such as Hep-C.
“People use cheap equipment and colours that can cause allergies and excessive skin damage. This, in turn, can lead to other infections and complications.”
She continued: “Another thing is that tattooing should cause minimum skin damage. All we are doing is putting in ink.
“But a lot of people working in kitchens and places like that are inexperienced and cause huge trenches in the skin and scarring.”
Sharon explained that educating teens about the hazards of tattoos may deter them from seeking out dodgy artists over the web.
“I think education is key so that they are fully aware of the risks,” she said.
“This isn’t like getting a new t-shirt. You are putting your health in the hands of these people, and this can be a very dangerous prospect.
“Kids should know about the dangers and wait until they are 18 to be tattooed by a professional in sterile conditions.”
She added: “Tattooing kids is completely illegal and to do so in this manner is risky.
“To expose anyone to these dangers, let alone children, is an absolute disgrace.”
Cops yesterday confirmed that the 21-year-old male and the 17-year-old female will be subject of a report submitted to the Procurator Fiscal at Paisley.
Inspector Eddie Gray, at Paisley Police Office, warned of the dangers of illegal tattooing and said that youngsters attracted to cheap deals could be gambling with their health.
“This legislation is in place to prevent juveniles under the age of 18 from getting these marks on their body that could be there for life and which they may regret at a later stage,” he said.
“The health risks involved are also significant as these were not done in the sterile conditions of a registered tattoo parlour.
“I'd appeal to anyone else who has had one done in these circumstances, or their parents, to contact PC Kath Walsh at Paisley Police Office on 0141 532 5900 and attend their GP for advice.”