Trading Standards officers from Stockton Council have been carrying out checks at pubs around the Borough to ensure customers are not short changed this Christmas.
The testing operation, which saw officers buy two pints from 10 pubs in the Borough, revealed that pint drinkers are often being given short measures.
All of the pints purchased were served in a brim measure glass, which means the glass only contains a pint of liquid if it is filled to the brim.
National pub industry guidance states customers should receive no more than a five per cent shortfall in liquid when a brim measure glass is used.
But seven of the 10 pubs served at least one pint that fell below this benchmark - the shortest measure served was at The Eagle in Eaglescliffe, which had a shortfall of 10.3 per cent.
Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, Councillor Steve Nelson, said: "These results are disappointing as they show that people visiting some pubs are being short changed while some pub operators are topping up their takings.
"These pubs have been advised against serving short measures in the future. Any further occurrence will be dealt with in accordance with our enforcement policy, which may lead to prosecution, as advised by the British Beer and Pub Association.
"The average overcharge across the seven pubs was 17p per pint. I was particularly surprised to learn that the Pound Pub, which markets itself as offering excellent value for money, was found to be serving short measures."
Councillor Nelson added: "An alternative to brim measure glasses is for pubs to use slightly larger glasses with a pint line mark, which allow for customers to have a full pint and a head on their beer.
"Our Trading Standards and Licensing service works hard to protect customers from being ripped off. Our message to local people is that they should not hesitate to ask for a top-up if their pint looks a little low on festive cheer."
The results from the seven pubs that sold a drink with a shortfall of more than five per cent were as follows:
|Pub||1st pint Shortfall||2nd pint shortfall|
|Sutton Arms, Elton||7.6%||5.0%|
|Owington Farm, Billingham||6.7%||2.3%|
|Golden Jubilee, Yarm||4.0%||9.5%|
|Pound Pub, Stockton||7.6%||5.0%|
|The George, Stockton||5.6%||7.6%|
|The Eagle, Eaglescliffe||10.3%||9.9%|
|The Golden Eagle, Thornaby||6.7%||2.3%|