Tattoo artist Tom Swift has had to spend the past 18 months proving to Wiltshire Council he is up to the job before he could get a licence to open a shop in Devizes.

But now he is getting ready to open his business in Northgate Street and his first customer will be an 80-year-old woman who wants a starfish design.

Mr Swift, 30, of Ferozeshah Road, Devizes, said: “She is in a wheelchair and has been by every day while we have been doing up the shop and said about getting a tattoo.

“I thought she was joking but it turned out she was serious. So she will be my first customer but I will not be opening properly until Saturday.”

The former Devizes School pupil has not found it easy to get permission for his shop and had to complete a 200-page book full of photographs and technical details before he persuaded Wiltshire Council he should have a licence.

He said: “It has taken a long time but the man from the council has actually been very supportive. His son is a tattoo artist so he understands the business.”

Mr Swift’s Tattoos is ready for business and he hopes it will provide a welcoming non-threatening environment for people of all ages who want body art.

He said: “We won’t be doing piercings and we want it to be a friendly and not intimidating in any way. People have a bit of a pre conception about tattoo parlours but hopefully we can dispel those.”

Mr Swift, who has an art background, originally used his design skills to do car body work but then realised they were better suited to tattoos.

He said: “I am not your average tattooist who is covered in tattoos themselves. I have some but they are not everywhere. I don’t want to have them on my face or hands.”

Mr Swift, who will be helped in the business by his wife Kelly, will be taking on commissions for large intricate designs but will also offer a drop in service for small tattoos. He eventually hopes to introduce laser removal.