A TATTOOIST says he feels "immensely grateful" after being reunited with a sentimental piece of equipment stolen from his shop that reminds him of his dad.

Helter Skelter Custom Tattoo Studio, which is co-owned by Nick and Karen Devine, was broken into in August 2019 with £5,000 worth of equipment and cash stolen.

As well as equipment being taken from all the artists who operate at the studio, the guitar which belonged to Nick's dad Ernie Tildesley, who has since died, was stolen.

Also taken was the first tattoo gun Nick bought, which was engraved with his dad's nickname.

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The bag when it was first found

However this week, 10 months after the theft, dad-of-two Nick was shocked to learn that someone looking in Carr Mill dam uncovered a bag full of all the stolen tattoo guns - including his precious tattoo gun engraved with the word 'Pops'.

Dad-of-two Nick, 39, said: "At the time we weren't the only tattoo studio done over and we all agreed amongst us tattoo places that if anyone came forward offering tattoo guns we wouldn't buy them and let everyone know.

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Nick and his dad Ernie - who died in 2013

"We accepted what happened and I was more upset about the guitar and a tattoo gun which was the first I ever bought with money I got from selling something my dad got me, so in homage to him I engraved it with 'Pops'

"He died in 2013, and it meant so much to me, I didn't even use it any more but it was like having a bit of him with me, and something to give to my boys.

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Before and after cleaning

"So to be reunited with that now is amazing."

What is even more extraordinary is that Nick has managed after cleaning the eevice to get it working again, after 10 months submerged in Carr Mill dam.

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The Pops machine now

He said: "They are all rusted up, but I took the 'Pops' machine and did all I could to clean it all weekend and when I plugged it in it worked!

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"I won't use it though, I'm going to get it framed properly and have it up in the studio for everyone to see - and bring it home at night, just in case.

"I'm just immensely grateful to have it back."

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All the gear found in the bag