BEER drinkers are being short changed in Hartlepool's pubs again, trading standards officers have discovered.

Officers bought two pints of beer from each of ten pubs in the town and in every single case the measure was short. In some cases this represented up to 17p worth of beer.

A similar survey 18 months ago showed that nine out of ten Hartlepool pubs were selling beer drinkers short.

Michael Welsh, trading standards manager with Hartlepool Borough Council said that although landlords are not breaking the law, customers are quite within their right to ask for their glasses to be topped up.

He said: "The reason this is happening is because many landlords are using brim measure glasses which do not allow for a full pint of beer plus the head."

The Government is planning to bring in new laws which could bring an end to landlords being able to count the froth as a full pint.

Mr Welsh said: "Beer drinkers regularly complain to us about short measures, but we have no legal powers to do anything about it. All that we can advise is that drinkers ask for a top up, but many are reluctant to do so."

It was also found that 35 per cent of the pints served were outside the trade's own voluntary code to serve not less than 95 per cent of a pint of liquid