South Shields tattoo parlour risked customers’ health

Tattooist Lee Homer was in court for having no running water at his parlour.
Tattooist Lee Homer was in court for having no running water at his parlour.

A tattoo parlour boss in South Tyneside put the health of his customers at risk by operating without a running water supply for over a year.

Lee Homer, who ran Enchanted Ink, in Westoe Road, South Shields, with his wife Audrey, has been banned from picking up the needle for life.

Magistrates in South Tyneside were told Homer brought water to the business in containers after his supply was cut off by Northumbria Water.

The court heard that the business’s water supply had been disconnected in April 2014 – but it was only after a swoop by South Tyneside Council’s environmental health team in August 2015 that the safety breach was uncovered.

The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching his general duty under the Health and Safety Act and one charge of contravening a tattoo byelaw by failing to provide adequate hot and cold water.

He breached the Health and Safety at Work Act by being unable to control cleanliness at the premises, resulting in a risk of cross contamination. He was fined £600.

District Judge Roger Elsey said: “There has to be a significant fine because there was a risk of infection over a considerable period of time.

District Judge Elsey agreed to remove Homer from the register of tattooists.

The business ceased trading last August and Homer, of Marsden Lane, South Shields, said he wished he had shut up shop sooner.

Jennifer Leach, prosecuting on behalf of South Tyneside Council, said: “Northumbrian Water confirmed last August that the water supply had been disconnected. Homer was served with a prohibition notice to cease trading until the water supply was re-connected.

“During interview, Homer said he had transferred water in containers from his home and boiled it to clean surfaces and for hygiene reasons.

“He was aware he was required to have a constant supply of hot and cold water.”

Homer, who was not represented in court, said he had been spending just one week in four tending to his business as he had been travelling to Birmingham to visit his ill father.