It may not make it on to the best-seller list this Christmas but a Government manual offering advice on how to tell if someone is drunk could prove one of the more humorous offerings of the festive season.
From looking out for staggering or "dishevelled" pub-goers to listening for "rambling conversation" and offensive language, the Home Office publication covers it all in minute detail. The guide is being issued to thousands of police officers who will work undercover in pubs and clubs this Christmas to catch bar staff who sell alcohol to inebriated customers.
Other tell-tale signs of drunkenness, according to the guide, include being "careless with money", exhibiting inappropriate sexual behaviour, offensive language, bumping into furniture, spilling drinks and drinking quickly or competitively, "i.e down in one". Drunkenness may also cause a loss of train of thought, difficulty in paying attention, "not understanding what is said", glassy eyes or lack of focus.
But the manual was condemned yesterday as "absolute nonsense" by the pub trade, which called on the Government to focus on the supermarkets that sell cheap alcohol.
A spokesman for the Licensed Victuallers' Association said: "It seems ridiculous that a trained police officer needs help in identifying someone who is drunk. If you apply all these guidelines in the average pub any customer could be classified as drunk."
David Wine [ed. note: hahahahahahaha!], the licensee at the Six Bells in Felsham, Suffolk, said: "This is an absolute nonsense. So what if someone is dishevelled?
"Does that mean Bob Geldof will not be able to get served in pubs?"
— Larry, Dishevelled Monkey, Light Reading