A WOMAN with 30 tattoos and 20 body piercings said she was ‘humiliated’ when a job centre adviser said she would struggle to find work because of her appearance.

Hayley O’Neil said she would take any job available when she was interviewed at the Job Centre Plus in Blackburn.

But the 23-year-old said she was told the only shop that would take her on was a tattoo parlour because of the ‘first impressions’ she would make.

The Department for Work and Pensions said it was ‘standard’ to give advice on dressing appropriately.

But Ms O’Neil, who said she had dressed smartly for the interview, said: “I told him I am looking for anything at the moment, and have applied for a lot of jobs.

"The last thing I want to be doing is signing on.

“Then he asked ‘what about the piercings?’ I said when it comes to a job interview I could take them out, but not the ones in my cheeks.

“He said he could only think of one shop in Blackburn that would employ me.”

Ms O’Neil, of Accrington Road, Blackburn, has previously worked in a bar, as a cleaner, and at an adventure playground.

She said: “Some people might find piercings intimidating, but I am a really nice person.

"He said ‘on first impressions, would they hire you?’ I said you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

“But he kept going on about my appearance. He was saying I would completely have to change who I am.

“He said ‘it’s a bit more difficult to find an employer who will take you on’, but it shouldn’t be a disadvantage.”

Her mother Dena, who accompanied her to the interview yesterday, said: “I was very upset.

"My daughter came out the job centre in floods of tears.

”The Department for Work and Pensions would not comment on individual cases.

But a spokeswoman said: "Dressing appropriately for the job when going for an interview or visiting a potential employer is a standard job-hunting tip."