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Last Updated: Friday, 23 July, 2004, 19:57 GMT 20:57 UK
Tattoo leads to assault inquiry
Julie Thomas
Julie said her decision to get the five-inch tattoo was stupid
A tattoo artist who etched an image of Winnie the Pooh on the arm of a 15-year-old schoolgirl is being investigated for assault.

Julie Thomas, of Lancing, West Sussex, went to a tattooist to have the 5in cartoon bear etched on her arm in tribute to her grandfather.

Her mother, Mary Thomas, reported the incident to Sussex Police as it is a criminal offence to tattoo under-18s.

"I want to see him prosecuted... I want somebody to learn a lesson," she said.

Ms Thomas also said she hoped it would stop other children from making the same mistake.

'Stupid' decision

"If it stops other children from putting their parents through the same anguish that I've been through then I've done something right."

Julie has described her decision to get the tattoo - which has large black letters spelling out "grandpaH" above it - as "stupid".

"If I had one wish, it would be to change it, even the granddad part," she said.

The wife of the tattooist, whose identity has not been revealed by police, defended his actions.

She said Julie was accompanied by an adult and so it was assumed her mother had given her consent.

Tattooing anyone below the age of 18 is a criminal offence unless it is done for medical reasons and carries a maximum fine of 1,000 .

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