Tattoo studio owner fined after refusing to close in lockdown

The Art Eternal Tattoo Studio in Pakefield.

The Art Eternal Tattoo Studio in Pakefield. - Credit: Google Maps

A Covid-denying tattoo artist has been ordered to pay almost triple her original fine after refusing to close during lockdown.

Christine McLean, owner of the Art Eternal Tattoo Studio in Pakefield, refused to close despite the second national lockdown in November.

Concerns had been raised by members of the public, with East Suffolk Council's Environmental Health officers and Suffolk Police visiting the studio a number of times between November 10 and 13, where they found customers being tattooed.

The second national lockdown came into force on November 5, meaning all non-essential businesses must close.

While hand sanitiser was available inside, neither staff nor customers were wearing face masks or visors.

At the time, McLean, of Green Drive, Lowestoft, was served a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of £1,000 and handed a prohibition notice ordering the temporary closure of the business. 

The 53-year-old, however, refused to pay the fine, resulting in the case being heard at Ipswich Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, June 23.

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Victoria Jempson, prosecuting, told the court: "An Environmental Health officer visited in November and spoke to the studio manager, who said it was a 'load of b******' and that he didn't believe there was a pandemic.

"The owner then said they were letting staff do what they wanted."

McLean made a formal complaint to the council following the FPN, with the council finding the notice was issued correctly.

She did not attend the court hearing, where magistrates convicted her of failing to close a restricted business. She was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £150 and court costs of £1,280.

In a post on Facebook following the visit, a spokesperson for the studio said: "I told them I didn’t consent to lockdown as a sovereign being, protected under the highest law of the land.

"We did not choose to carry on working against orders as we were never ordered or asked to close at any point by any person or corporation.

"We exercised our rights to earn a living and we all have the right to make decisions about our own personal health."