A teenage father who claimed he couldn't get a job because he was inked with a huge 'DEVAST8' facial tattoo in prison has revealed how his face looked before the massive inking.
Mark Cropp, from New Zealand, was desperate to find a job when he was released from prison but said the amateur tattoo – which covers his cheeks, mouth and chin – had put off potential employers.
Last week, the 19-year-old posted about his struggles and has since been inundated with job offers despite his criminal convictions.
Mark's tattoo took eight and a half hours to complete in his cell using a homemade tattoo needle made from a straightened spring and an ink made of burnt plastic, toothpaste and water.
On Monday, the father-of-one released images revealing his baby-faced look before he went under the needle.
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"It was only supposed to be a little tattoo down the side of my jaw but I got intoxicated," Mark said.
"I fell asleep and eight and a half hours later I woke up with this.
"I completely forgot about it and then when I looked in the mirror I was like 'holy sh*t' so I have had to live with it from then.
"When I got out of prison people were stopping and looking at me going 'what the hell'.
"When I walk down the street everyone is staring at me – some people nearly have car accidents because they are staring at me so much.
"When I went into the job centre one day they said 'we would not even employ you with that ugly thing on your face'.
"I liked it at the time but now it is just not my sort of thing. I don't regret having it, but this is my changing point."
Mark served two years and three months in prison for aggravated robbery aged 17 after he threatened a tourist with a knife during a cannabis deal which went wrong.
His brother, who was also his prison cellmate, inked him with the unusual etching while the pair were drunk on homebrew made from fermented apples, bread and sugar.
Mark's whole body is now inked with prison tattoos drawn with a homemade gun with a needle made from the spring of a pen and powered by a cassette player.
He said inmates even burn plastic knives and forks to a black plastic powder and mix this with toothpaste and water to create the ink.
When Mark was released from prison in Christchurch earlier this month he posted about his difficulty finding a job on Facebook.
But since then he has been offered a scaffolding job with his own vehicle and a $25 NZD an hour salary and another job in construction.
Mark has also been offered laser therapy to remove the tattoo and will have his first session on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old, who insisted 'DEVAST8' is just a nickname and is not gang-related, added: "When I came round after having the tattoo it really hurt and my face had swelled up like a pumpkin.
"It was quite a shock for my partner and my family.
"I just wanted to get out of prison and work hard and do right by my family so I am really pleased about the job offers I've had."
Mark and girlfriend Taneia Ruki got together a year before he was sent to prison.
The 24-year-old mum-of-one said: "I was shocked when I first saw the tattoo because I didn't think it was going to be that bad but since then it has actually grown on me.
"I can't see him without it now because I'm so used to seeing it on his face.
"I am pleased and overwhelmed by the job offers – he has only been out of prison a week and two days and everything is happening all at once but it is all coming together and falling into place the way we planned it."