Unfortunately for Potts, Bispham Kitchen’s owner Steve Hoddy is a trained lawyer with a first-class degree from Cambridge and took him to court.
Specialising in defamation law, Hoddy represented himself and provided charts that estimated his loss of earnings due to the negative reviews, as well as providing receipts that proved the fish was haddock.
During the hearing, in July, the judge found Potts guilty of malicious falsehood and he was ordered to compensate Hoddy £7,455.
Restaurateur Hoddy said that fake reviews have become a “scourge of modern society” and claimed they are “rife”.
Hoddy said: “Online trolling is rife and one of the big problems nowadays. It’s becoming a pandemic of its own. It wrecks businesses.
“I have owned Bispham Kitchen for 44 years now and my business is robust enough to withstand this sort of nonsense.
"But particularly for hotels it is a real problem, because people really do take note of hotel reviews because they are spending larger sums of money.
“It is the scourge of modern society.”
A good reminder that trolling online can result in expensive real-world consequences.