Two JD Wetherspoon (JDW) pubs have been suspended from a pubwatch scheme in Carlisle for breaching an agreement not to sell drinks for less than £1.50.
The agreement shows that minimum pricing schemes do still operate - despite fears they are cartels that break competition law.
Pubwatch members agreed not to sell drinks for less than £1.50 last July after £1-a-drink deals and all-inclusive promotions appeared at bars in the town.
Police linked the deals to rising crime and disorder.
JDW's Woodrow Wilson and William Rufus pubs were suspended for offering gin and tonic for 99p between 2 and 15 January as part of the January Sale promotion, which ran in every Wetherspoon outlet.
JDW is to argue its case for re-instatement at a pubwatch meeting next month.
In the meantime, the pubs will still use radios to communicate with other venues, but will not be notified if new people are banned.
JDW spokesman Eddie Ger-
shon stressed that Wether-spoon is a strong supporter of pubwatch schemes and said: "This is slightly short-sighted by members of the pubwatch. Pubwatch is primarily about ensuring that pubs can run smoothly without fear of any trouble. I don't think it's about prices.
"We don't think a 13-day promotion where the price of some drinks are reduced will cause any problems."
A Cumbria constabulary spokesman said the decision to suspend the JDW pubs was made "jointly by all pub-
watch members". This in-cludes police, council representatives and licensees.
He said the reason was because the pubs "were selling alcohol below a minimum price, which had been jointly agreed by all pubwatch
He added: "The temporary suspension of the premises will be reviewed at the next pubwatch meeting in February, and will not affect the use of a radio-link system."
l Coulson - p20