Tattoo artists have welcomed a new scheme which will see businesses given hygiene ratings.

Braintree Council has become the first district in the county to sign up for the scheme, backed by the Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union.

Businesses who sign up for voluntary inspections will be given a rating between one, for those needing improvement, and four, for very good.

Don Burrows, who owns Ink Asylum, in Head Street, Halstead, said: “I think it is good for the industry - the more guidelines the better."

Wendy Schmitt, Braintree Council cabinet member for environmental health, said: “We are already getting very positive feedback from the industry, who want to demonstrate how good the hygiene levels are, but also drive out those that give it a bad name.

"This scheme will, we believe, drive up standards by setting best practice in the industry but also gives the public piece of mind about the tattooist they choose.

"Although this is a voluntary scheme, it is in the interest of the parlours to register, and our advice to the public will be to only use those have got a rating."