MORE than half of Barnsley's tattooists and skin piercers need improve their hygiene practices, council officials have warned following visits to premises.
Last September Barnsley Council's regulatory services and public health officers hosted a seminar for local tattooists and skin piercers.
Since then, officers have visited all 42 registered tattooist and skin piercing premises in Barnsley, starting with those that did not attend the seminar.
It was discovered that more than 50 per cent need to improve good hygiene practices and advice and information has been given out to ensure they comply with legal requirements.
Further investigations were also undertaken to prevent unregistered practitioners, known as 'scratchers', operating in the borough.
Officers have warned the public that having tattoos or skin piercings done by unregistered practitioners can lead to risk of infection and possible disfigurement.
Coun Roy Miller said: "Young people are particularly at risk from unscrupulous tattooists who do not work in hygienic studios and often visit clients at their home, undermining the legitimate trade.
"We are increasing our investigations into illegal operators and appropriate enforcement action will be taken against those who flout the law including confiscation of their equipment."
Anyone with information about unregistered businesses, or who have had infected tattoos or piercings, are urged to contact 772468.