Barnard Castle’s Tripadvisor page has been inundated with fake reviews poking fun at a British political advisor who seemingly broke lockdown laws.
One of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s closest advisors, Dominic Cummings was spotted in the historic town of Barnard Castle, which is almost a five-hour drive away from London, defying the government’s advice to stay home.
BBC News reported Cummings believed he had acted “reasonably” and within the law but understood why people would be confused.
During a press conference, Cummings admitted to driving his wife and son from London to County Durham to self-isolate after his wife fell ill on 27 March. He developed COVID-19 symptoms the next day.
He said he drove the 30 minutes from his family farm in Durham to Barnard Castle on 12 April, 15 days after he displayed symptoms, to test his eyesight in preparation for the drive back to London.
Besides sparking a lot of political infighting, his actions also inspired some hilarious Tripadvisor reviews and social media commentary.
After an influx of fake reviews from users claiming to be Cummings, the town’s Tripadvisor page now displays a message advising new reviews had temporarily been suspended and the fake reviews have been deleted.
“Due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing,” the notice said.
“If you’ve had a firsthand experience at this property, please check back soon – we’re looking forward to receiving your review!”
SBS’s The Feed managed to capture a few of the deleted reviews.
“The bluebells in the local woods at this time of the year are a beautiful sight and worth commenting on – be careful though of strangers coughing in the woods,” one wrote.
“Great place for a test drive if feeling ill. It’s lovely to take the wife and son to help check your eyesight,” quipped another.
And our personal favourite: “Had a lovely day with my family on 12th April. Was nice and peaceful so didn’t see many people around. Can’t think why. Think I got away with it.”
— 🏴Scouseweegian (@scouseweegian) May 25, 2020
The Feed also noticed a trend of Twitter users poking fun at Cumming’s reasoning with a spate of photoshopped Specsavers ads.
— Jord (@excxpt) May 25, 2020
BREAKING: Barnard Castle Specsavers trial new eye test. pic.twitter.com/hyxqC0MPxa
— The Agitator (@UKDemockery) May 25, 2020
Astonishing new ad campaign from Specsavers… pic.twitter.com/mONUXIHqVA
— Erron Gordon (@errongordon) May 25, 2020
Specsavers' new advert pic.twitter.com/wTCmj9amdv
— Idil Sukan (@idilsukan) May 25, 2020