THEY are in most towns and cities across the North-East and never fail to attract customers in search of fairly cheap pub grub.

But Wetherspoon, which has scores of pubs across the region, is not free from the critics - and some reviews make for hilarious reading.

We've once again scoured TripAdvisor for some of the most bizarre and hilarious reviews that people have left after their trip to Spoons.

For fairness, we've only chosen reviews where the pub or pub manager has had an opportunity to respond.

It's worth remembering that there are hundreds of reviews per pub, which massively vary in opinion and do not always reflect real life practices. 

1. 'Perverse toilet sting in operation'

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One TripAdvisor user left this damning review of The Bishops' Mill in Durham City Centre after being allegedly accused of using drugs in the restaurant.

He said: "When you’re a patron of this establishment, don’t use the toilet cubicles!!! You’ll be seedily spied upon by a member of staff whilst doing your business.

"Then when you approach the door staff with a complaint about the subversive behaviour you’ve been subjected to when using the facilities, you’ll be accused of being some sort of junkie and ejected from the premises with extreme prejudice whilst being very publicly (and falsely) accused of using drugs on the premises!!!"

A manager at the premises admitted to "getting things wrong" and said: "We are sorry about you experience, We have to remain vigilant in the fight against drug use and we are sorry if we got things wrong on this occasion."

2. 'Toilet lights turned off whilst we were using them'

The Northern Echo: Picture: NORTHERN ECHOPicture: NORTHERN ECHO

Known as RLD1234, this customer was not kind when leaving their review for The William Stead in Darlington.

They said: "The staff there had appalling manners and customer service skills. Two young staff members swearing whilst serving us, another staff member said 'he did not care' when we complained on another matter.

"We were made to feel very unwelcome near closing time and they even turned the lights off in the toilets whilst we were using them. Staff definitely in need of attending customer service training."

In the restaurant's defence, the manager asked for more information so that their experience could be investigated.

3. 'Is someone new operating the microwave?'

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David H did not have much positive to say about his visit to The Stanley Jefferson.

He said: "This used to be good for food, however over the last couple of months the food is poor, the fish being undercooked, the batter was still white, bacon and egg sandwich with the bacon burnt to a crisp, bagels that are so hard you could use as a weapon like goldfingers top hat.

"They may have new staff, but some correct training would rectify this. Am going to give food a miss in here as every time I am disappointed. I know you pay for what you get, but even getting a bacon and egg sandwich correct is not difficult."

The manager replied and apologised for the 'sub-standard' food served, and said: "I would like to apologise for the poor quality of food you have received on recent visits.

"Although we have had new staff this is no excuse for the sub-standard food. We hope that you would give us another chance to show you that we can do things right."

4. 'I don't think I've regretted anything more, not even getting back with my ex'

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Steevi S left this appaling review for Company Row in Consett and described his visit as 'shockingly bad.'

He said: "Came with my friend for a breakfast and I don't think I've regretted anything more, not even getting back with my ex! We had extra toast instead of the tomato but only given one little sachet of butter so I had to use ketchup to soften the burnt toast up.

"We asked for crispy bacon but instead of it looking like a slice of bacon, it looked and tasted like cardboard. The hasbrowns were so deep fried it was hard to find any potato inside and to top it all off, my sausage didn't taste the best. I've had many breakfast from here before and enjoyed it but this was just horrendous."

The manager apologised and promised his problem could have been rectified, and said: "I am sorry to hear that your experience was shockingly bad! I am sure if you had highlighted this to one of our staff then we could have rectified the problem for you had it been that bad. We can only apologise."

5. 'Staff member was busy doing hair in the mirror'

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Big4007 was less than impressed with his visit to The Wicket Gate in Chester-le-Street after popping in for breakfast.

He said: "After an early morning walk I looked into The Wicket Gate for coffee and toast, first I was not greeted by a young girl behind the bar busy doing her hair in the mirror, I ordered my breakfast and was given a mug to fill, I carried the coffee to the table this was before being asked my table number, this being a bit silly as there was only 2 customers in the place.

"I sat down and could smell something really bad, started to look for another place to sit and realised the smell was the coffee. The same girl from behind the bar, when told of the problem said "why", she then removed the urn telling someone else it was off!

"Gave me another coffee from the machine, no explanation. Started on my toast too find the butter was runny and off. This establishment is a joke, dirty, bad mannered staff, only good for cheap beer. Mr Martin should inspect this type of joint, it wouldn't complete in Newcastle."

The pub responded and offered their apology after the review was left by Big4007.

6. 'Burger had been in microwave a second time'

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Wayne T complained that a burger had been microwaved for a second time at The Resolution in Middlesbrough.

He said: "Called in here for a meal an a drink my fiancee, meal was the wrong order for a start - when the right order came back burger, it had had been in the microwave for a second time as the salad was warm."

Admitting it was not "their policy" to microwave food for a second time, the manager apologised.

He said: "I'm very sorry to hear that we didn't meet you expectations this visit. Although I would like to mention, we have a policy here that does not allow our staff to put food that has already been served into a microwave, therefore I imagine your salad would have gone warm under the gantry light. I will speak to the kitchen staff to ensure this does not happen again. Hope to see you again."