AN unqualified tattooist put lives at risk at his illegal tattoo salon in his home, York magistrates said.

Andrew Dennis’ activities left one person with a “significant medical condition” because the skin around the tattoo had developed an infection, said Susan Kerr, prosecuting for City of York Council.

For a time, the 25-year-old re-used needles but didn’t have sterilisation equipment. Nor did he have a licence for himself or the premises.

Dennis, now of Cygnet Street, South Bank, pleaded guilty to operating a tattoo business without a personal licence and without a premises licence between July 22 and August 14.

Mark Nuttall, the magistrates’ chairman, told him: “Running a tattooing salon as you have done put people in grave danger. There was a substantial risk to the health of the people you were tattooing, a substantial risk and even death if the needles were infected.”

They fined him £250, plus £500 prosecution costs and a £20 statutory surcharge.

The maximum fine possible was £1,000 on each charge and magistrates took into account his £85-a-week income. Dennis, who represented himself, said: “I didn’t mean to hurt anybody.”

He started tattooing himself as a hobby when he was 18. As word got around, others had asked him to tattoo them.

He said he didn’t have any qualifications, so wasn’t a tattoo artist. He had changed to using disposable needles. Mrs Kerr said the council confiscated his tattooing equipment when environmental health officers raided his then home in Boroughbridge Road on September 4.

Registration cost £609 and the council did health and safety checks on registered premises and tattooists.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, the council’s director of health and wellbeing, said improper or unsanitary tattooing methods carried high health risks including infections, blood-borne viruses, and occasionally severe illness, septicaemia, amputation or death.