Call for action over botched body art and unregulated tattoo parlours

By Joe Sweeney | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Graphic images of botched cosmetic surgery and body art carried out across Wolverhampton have led to council chiefs calling for urgent action.

Dr Evil Brendan McCarthy outside Wolverhampton Crown Court, had featured in a TV documentary, right

Slides of the work by untrained and unregulated tattoo parlours were shown to councillors as part of a report on the practices.

Charlotte Rose, the council’s Senior Environmental Health Officer, told stunned members of the licensing committee: “The problem is that anyone can – and does – practice carrying out these procedures with no training. And we are powerless to stop them.

“There are body enhancement parlours springing up all over Wolverhampton and the consequences of some of the work people have had done that we have discovered purely through Intel investigations have been horrific.

“We have seen evidence of people being left with second degree burns, and one case where a woman went for a pedicure, which turned out to be almost like having a potato peeler applied to her feet to scrape off the skin, This left her unable to walk for weeks.”

“At another parlour we found a rice cooker being used to sterilise equipment. These are just a few examples of what we are having to deal with,” she added.

“We don’t have the resources to investigate properly. The public are being driven by social media and asking for more and more extreme body modifications. Anyone can set up and practice with no training as it’s completely unregulated. And we have no powers to stop them.”

It comes after an extreme body artist dubbed Dr Evil, who removed an ear, a nipple and split a tongue at the request of his customers, was locked up for more than three years.

Work can range from tattoos and piercings through to newer bizarre requests such as a “vampire face” – a procedure that involves injecting blood into the face and is sold as “skin rejuvenation”.


Wolverhampton Council

The report was presented to the licensing committee this week in the wake of council proposals to introduce an increase in registration charges for visiting artists wishing to work at large-scale public events or festivals in the city.

This is being done in order to better regulate any major functions involving the practice of tattooing, acupuncture, electrolysis, semi-permanent skin colouring and cosmetic piercing.

Deputy mayor and councillor Greg Brackenridge, who represents Wednesfield South, said: “This is very worrying and incredibly dangerous and we definitely need a system to regulate it. We need to define the difference between what is medical and what is art.” And the public have no idea if the person they are going to is trained or not.


“You can guarantee that the guy who works on Kim Kardashian’s backside is not going to be the same as a guy operating in a back alley in Wolverhampton.”

Councillor Rita Potter, who represents Wednesfield North, described the situation as “outrageous” adding: “This is horrific. There are surgeons out there who get struck off for much less than this.”

Committee chairman, councillor Alan Bolshaw, who represents Merry Hill, said: “I think we’ve all learned something here. And after viewing these images, I think I can safely say everyone has been left feeling aghast.”

Members agreed to send a letter to the Government in order to highlight the issue and also to carry out some form of media campaign in order to raise public awareness of the dangers involved in going to unregulated practices.

The images shown at the meeting have not been released due to them being used in evidence in current legal action.

Joe Sweeney

By Joe Sweeney

Local Democracy Reporter covering Wolverhampton.

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