A MAN has been ordered to pay £2,484 in fines and costs for working as an illegal tattooist, or “scratcher”, out of a city home.

Brandon Watkins, of no fixed abode, was discovered to be tattooing out of a house in Kirby Lane, Pill, Newport, despite being unregistered, following an investigation by Newport Council Environmental health officers.

The 21-year-old was working in unregistered residential premises, where the room did not meet local authority by-laws, equipment was being reused without being properly sterilised and clinical waste was disposed of incorrectly.

Tattoo equipment was seized as it posed a public health risk.

Watkins failed to appear before Newport magistrates, but was found guilty in his absence of two offences of tattooing without being registered and in premises not registered with the council.

He was fined £500 on each offence and ordered to pay £1,434 costs plus a £50 victim surcharge.

Councillor Bob Poole, cabinet member for licensing and statutory functions, said: “Action will be taken against businesses operating illegally as in this case.”

This is the second prosecution by Newport council against an illegal tattooist this year.