NHS Lothian is warning people about the dangers of using unlicensed tattooists.

It comes following the arrest of a 28 year-old man in Edinburgh for allegedly carrying out tattoo work without the proper qualifications and licences.

Dr Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, NHS Lothian, said:- “Unhygienic tattoo equipment carries a risk of infection of blood-borne viruses including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.   We would advise anyone who has recently had a tattoo that was not from a licensed tattoo parlour to contact the NHS Lothian Health Protection Team on 0131 465 5420 from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm. The Health Protection Team will be able to provide initial advice and give information on testing and support if required.”

Lothian and Borders Police and Environmental Wardens from the City of Edinburgh Council carried out a joint investigation following intelligence that members of the public in the Capital and Midlothian were paying for tattoo sessions from an individual without the appropriate qualifications or permissions.

In each case the tattoo artist would visit their homes to carry out the work.

A police spokesman said: “It is likely that only a small number of people have been affected. However, we are keen to make sure anyone who received a tattoo at home from an individual they met in Edinburgh seeks the appropriate medical advice from NHS Lothian.

“Tattooing requires a licence, which guarantees customers safe and hygienic practices by the artist.”