A young man with a tattoo on his face reading ‘DEVAST8’ has said he is having difficulty finding work after being released from prison.
Mark Cropp, from New Zealand, had been inebriated when his cell mate - who is also his brother - gave him the tattoo, while he was completing a two-year sentence in prison for an aggravated robbery charge.
The tattoo was supposed to be small and go along his jawline, but after the pair drank an improvised alcoholic beverage made from fermented apples, sugar and bread, the mark turned out to be significantly larger.
“I am regretting it…I was going through a rough patch,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
"Part of jail life, you get people with tattoos and you look at them, step back, 'Watch out for that guy' sort of thing."
“At the end of the day [devast8] is my nickname, it’s not gang affiliated. I shouldn’t find it hard to communicate out in society.
“I’ve gone into a couple of places [to find work]. One employment place turned around and said to me that ‘I wouldn’t even employ you with that on your face’. I’ve had other people who shrugged and laughed at me.”
The 19-year-old quickly became frustrated with the rejections he was getting, and decided to post a picture of himself to the Facebook group ‘Auckland Jobs.’
“I was applying to a few things on Facebook and I thought ‘well actually I shouldn’t have to let my facial tattoo hold me back’ and that’s when I took the selfie and put a bit of a description on it and just went from there.”
“The best was when my mum put a comment on it. She just said ‘proud of you son’. I’ve had a lot of responses from people and I also may have a potential job offer.”
Following the viral response to his post, which received hundreds of reactions, an Auckland company reached out to offer Mr Cropp laser tattoo removal free of charge, as well as transport to and from the clinic. He has accepted the offer.
One of the people to offer him employment is Douglas George Hebert, the owner of a scaffolding company and tattooed himself, who told the New Zealand Herald he was willing to pay the young man $22 (£12.40) an hour.
With a daughter in care, Mr Cropp and his partner - who are living in emergency accommodation in a caravan park in Takini, south Auckland – hope that having a job could help get her back.
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