Illegal tattoo business run from ‘filthy’ Peterlee home

Tattoo equipment found at Trevor Hallcup's home.
Tattoo equipment found at Trevor Hallcup's home.
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A man who ran an unlicensed tattoo and body piercing business from his ‘filthy’ Peterlee home has been hit with a hefty fine.

Fifteen bags of evidence relating to tattooing and body piercing were found at Trevor Hallcup’s Dunn Road home, magistrates in the town heard.

Tattoo equipment found at Trevor Hallcup's home.

Tattoo equipment found at Trevor Hallcup's home.

After receiving a complaint, Durham County Council carried out checks into Hallcup which revealed he had a website advertising his tattoo business Kiwi Ink.

The company was also advertised on Facebook.

Police and council officers who visited the property got inside through a back door as no-one was home. They found the kitchen was filthy, with dirty utensils, plates and pans on the worktops and spilt dried food on the floor. There was also tattooing equipment on top of the microwave.

The living room/dining area was cluttered and included various items of tattooing and body piercing equipment.

Tattoo equipment found at Trevor Hallcup's home.

Tattoo equipment found at Trevor Hallcup's home.

Hallcup returned home and confirmed the equipment was his but insisted that he only tattooed and pierced friends and family.

He said he knew he had to have a personal and premises licence to carry out tattooing and body piercing but he also denied that the website for Kiwi Ink was his and he claimed he had nothing to do with the business.

Hallcup claimed he did not charge for the work and when asked how he sterilised his tattooing equipment he said he used a baby bottle steriliser.

He confirmed he did have a sharps box for the needles and used clinical waste bags but did not have a clinical waste contract so could not prove how he disposed of the waste, the court heard.

Tattoo equipment found at Trevor Hallcup's home.

Tattoo equipment found at Trevor Hallcup's home.

A search of the house also uncovered a tool chest full of tattooing equipment, needles, body piercing jewellery and tattoo ink.

Paperwork found on the floor was addressed to Hallcup, of Kiwi Ink, at his home address.

There was also a treatment couch and two ultrasonic cleaners, which could be used before sterilisation, which appeared to be new.

Further tattooing and body piercing equipment was discovered in a drawer unit as well as a Tommy baby bottle steriliser.

Other discoveries included a number of tattoo magazines and an open folder containing tattoo designs with prices marked on them.

In a later interview, Hallcup again claimed he only tattooed himself and friends. He denied having a tattoo business or that Kiwi Ink was anything to do with him but investigations revealed the Kiwi Ink website was registered in Hallcup’s name and at his home address.

The 31-year-old failed to attend court and was found guilty in his absence of running a tattooing and cosmetic piercing business from his home without being registered by the council.

He was fined £440 and ordered to pay a total of £1,493 costs and a £44 victim surcharge.

Durham County Council’s health protection manager Michael Yeadon said: “Anyone running a tattooing or body piercing business has a duty of care to their customers and must be registered with their local authority.

“If they are not registered they are operating illegally and are not inspected by our officers.

“Illegal tattooing and body piercing can have serious health implications and we would advise anyone thinking of getting a tattoo or piercing to check the premises and artist are properly registered.”