A PUB landlord offering free food to anyone weighing in at over 25 stone has been criticised by foodbank volunteers calling for a ban on eating challenges.

The latest offer at The George in Stockton will see anyone willing to be publicly weighed offered a free meal - if they tip the scales at more than 350 pounds.

It is the latest in a long line of food challenges and competitions to be launched by landlord Craig Harker, who has offered a 50 per cent contribution towards the headstone of any customer who dies while taking part in one of his challenges.

Mr Harker, whose latest stunt has been condemned by health experts and foodbank operatives, said: “We are not Weight Watchers, people don’t come here for something healthy, they come here for a massive meal – it is personal choice.”

Deborah Bailey-Knibbs runs a foodbank at The Labyrinth Café, just metres away from The George.

She said: “This is going a step too far – he’s launched many ridiculous challenges, despite knowing half of the food he’s cooking in each case is destined for the bin.

“Doing something like this may raise his profile but it is all about body shaming and celebrating excess.

“It’s the latest in a long line of such stunts and it makes me livid that most of them end with throwing enough food for a few people away, when we’re giving bags out to people who have nothing.

“The pub is based in Stockton where there are people struggling to feed themselves - it is horrible and food challenges should be banned altogether.”

Mr Harker said those stepping on the scales must to do simply to prove their weight, claiming the act is not about public humiliation.

Dr Paul Williams, MP for Stockton South, criticised the landlord’s latest offer, saying: “I am firmly against anything that might mock people because of their weight or promote unhealthy lifestyles. Retailers like The George should act responsibly and consider the health of their customers as well as the area as a whole.”