THE removal process of the famed large "Devast8" tattoo on former inmate Mark Cropp's face has begun.
The 19-year-old got the tattoo while in jail serving a two year, three month sentence for pulling a knife on a tourist over a drug deal gone wrong.
It was after a heavy night of drinking that Cropp and his brother, also in a cell with him, decided to tattoo his nickname on his face.
"It was only supposed to cover up what was originally on my jawline," Cropp said.
"Once it was started, I thought, I can't go back on it now.
"I wish I had stopped while the outline was there to be quite honest."
Cropp initially rejected an offer from Corrections to have it removed but then changed his tune two months out from his release and asked to have it removed. That however didn't end up happening.
Last week, Cropp made headlines around the world after he publicly pleaded for a job and a fresh start on Facebook.
That attention also attracted an Auckland tattoo parlour, Sacred Tattoo, which also owns a tattoo removal business called Sacred Laser.
Tired of rejection from potential employers, Cropp decided to accept the help, and the Herald went along with him to his first laser session on Tuesday afternoon.
Sacred Laser co-owner Briar Neville first numbed a section of his face before successfully lasering off a layer.
She said it was the biggest face tattoo she'd ever been faced with removing, and was being extra cautious due to what the ink on Cropp's face was made of - burnt down plastic knives and forks.
The thick lettering is set to take eight to 12 sessions to be fully removed - all of which is paid for by the parlour.