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A babysitter has been arrested for tattooing two children in his care without their parents' consent.

But if that wasn't bad enough, the mum and dad attempted to remove the tattoos with a hot razor blade – which led to them, too, being arrested.

Melissa Delp, 35, and boyfriend Daniel Janney, 32, left their girls – both aged under 13 – with family friend Alexander Edwards while the went out for the night in Concord, Virginia.

When they got home they found the tattoos on their daughters. One was apparently the girl's name, inked onto her shoulder.

Outraged, they went about trying to remove the markings, but instead left the girls scarred.

It's not clear how police were alerted but when they became involved they arrested Edwards, who now faces charges of tattooing the girls without their their parents' consent, plus allegations of malicious wounding, abduction and child abuse.

Then the parents themselves were arrested for their botched attempts to remove the tats.

They face charges of malicious wounding and child abuse.

Maj LT Guthrie, of the Campbell County Sheriff's Office, said: "There was an effort to cover these tattoos up, it didn't help the situation any – it added more scarring."

The parents remain in custody following the alleged incident on December 22.

Local tattoo artist Eban Goff told WSET that home tattoo kits are risky. He said: "If they're tattooing at home, it's a guarantee that everything is contaminated and nothing's sterile."

A tattoo parlour in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, has now offered to provide free tattoo removal for the two children.