A WANNABE tattoo artist illegally inked a 15-year-old girl after launching a Facebook plea appealing for people he could practice on.
Colin John Hawkins bought himself a £50 tattooing kit online and asked his partner to put a plea out on Facebook to see if anyone wanted an image done for free.
At the beginning of October the girl went along to the 22-year-old defendant’s Baltimore Avenue home in Town End Farm and had a tattoo of the word ‘faith’ and a small cross done on her left breast.
Lee Poppett, prosecuting, told Sunderland Magistrates’ Court the girl’s mother spotted a picture of the design on Instagram and demanded that her daughter tell her where she had it done.
He said: “Mr Hawkins was challenged by the mother and he said the girl had told him she was 16.
“However, it is actually an offence to tattoo a person under the age of 18.
“He had done absolutely no research into whether or not a 16-year-old could be tattooed.”
Mr Poppett said Hawkins, who pleaded guilty, had no training at all in giving a tattoo and had no thought to the health and safety risks such as contamination and infection.
He said the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is now undergoing the painful procedure of having the design removed at a cost of £30 a session and it could take up to 20 sessions for it to be gone completely.
Duncan Emmerson, defending, argued that his client had taken safety precautions.
He said: “All the equipment was sterilised and as you can see in the photographs, he was wearing surgical gloves.”
Mr Emmerson added: “In a semi-entrepreneurial sort of way he put out an advert on social media.
“He was approached by this young lady who said she was 16. In his mind, what he had been told, was the age of consent was 16.
“This is a young man who has acted out of ignorance of the law.
“Had he known the permitted age was 18 he would not have undertaken the procedure.”
The court heard that Hawkins has now disposed of his tattoo kit.
He was given a six-month conditional discharge for tattooing a person under the age of 18 and ordered to pay the girl £200 compensation.