CENTRES specialising in tattoo removal by laser are being set up privately by GPs, who say the technique is almost unobtainable on the NHS. Thirteen 'Laserase' centres have been established and more are planned.

There is minimal risk of scarring with laser removal, but it is expensive: removing a 'Love and Hate' design on the knuckles, for example, costs about pounds 400.

'If removing a tattoo gets you through the interview for your first job or promotion, it's well worth it,' says Dr Colin Wright, who helped set up the national network. For details about Laserase, telephone 0274 501000.