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The City of Edinburgh Council is today revealing the top five excuses by bar-staff for serving short measures to cu...
The City of Edinburgh Council is today revealing the top five excuses by bar-staff for serving short measures to customers in the city, in a bid to call time on customers being short-changed. The campaign to ensure pubs and festival venues are pouring fair measures will be kicked off with a series of spot checks on pubs by inspectors in the forthcoming weeks.

Trading standards officers from the council will be conducting a comprehensive inspection of pubs and festival venues during the festival period, checking for short measures, substitution, pricing and other trading standards issues.

Mike Drewry, director of environmental and consumer services said:

'Over the years many excuses have been put forward by licensees or staff to explain why they had given a short measure. These include the following:

1. 'I didn't have any breakfast and when I don't have any breakfast my hands shake.'

2. 'I thought you were from trading standards so I was being extra careful and did not want to over-pour.'

3. 'I'm from New Zealand, and I've worked in a bar in America - I didn't know about the Weights and Measures Act.'

4. 'I've never worked on a bar before - it's my first shift and I only started an hour ago.'

5. 'I cannot be compared to someone who has been trained to work behind a bar.'

This year we don't want to hear any of the excuses at all; we just want the public to get what they are paying for: correct measure, correct quality and correct price.'

Cllr Brian Fallon said:

'Just this week, Bass Taverns has been fined£1,000 for supplying short measures in an Edinburgh pub, following inspections by trading standards officers from the council during the festival in 2000. We are urging the licensed trade not to be complacent and ensure staff are properly trained and aware of the law. As Edinburgh's population doubles during the festival period and the number of temporary licenses rises, our officers are being extra vigilant to ensure all customers can be sure of getting a fair pint.'


1. The test-purchasing of measures comprises part of a rolling programme of initiatives by the City of Edinburgh Council to combat the problem.

2. Under the Weights and Measures Act 1985 responsibility lies with both the bar person and the licensee to ensure accurate measures are dispensed, and therefore both parties are liable for prosecution by the Procurator Fiscal. Offences under section 28 of the Act carry a maximum penalty of£5000 for each conviction - and each drink could be classed as one offence.

3. Licensed premises must sell prescribed spirits in 25ml or 35cl measures, or multiples thereof, and must clearly indicate at point of sale the quantities they sell. Licensed premises should also indicate quantities sold for wine by the glass - these can be 125ml, 175ml, both and multiples of.

4. It is an offence under the Trading Standards Act 1968 or the Food Safety Act 1990 to supply intoxicating liquor of a nature different to that demanded or advertised.

5. Do you measure up? An introductory training package for staff in the licensed trade was produced by the City of Edinburgh Council's Trading Standards Service, and the Edinburgh branch of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) with support from United Distillers & Vintners UK '(Scotland). It is available to buy from the SLTA.

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