BCP Council urge traders to “behave responsibly” after receiving complaints on shops hiking up prices during the current coronavirus lockdown.

Trading Standards had several complaints last week relating to the excessive pricing of goods in shops across the conurbation.

The council have already been in touch with the businesses concerned and reminded them that the Competitions and Markets Authority will take “direct enforcement action” on businesses that are caught reoffending.

A BCP Council spokesman said: “To date, we have received only five complaints, so it appears that the vast majority of retailers locally are, on the whole, behaving responsibly.

“We have been in touch with the businesses concerned and reminded them the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) are urging retailers to behave responsibly throughout the coronavirus outbreak and not to make misleading claims or charge vastly inflated prices.

“The CMA have said that they will take direct enforcement action in appropriate cases and are monitoring this with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute as part of a Task Force to assess whether further emergency legislation is required.

“Under guidance at the current time we are referring these to the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA). If members of the public wish to complain about any unfair price increases, they can complain direct to the CMA. Information is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/cma-covid-19-response.”

Resident have taken to social media to show their disgust and outrage at the inflated prices of household essentials such as toilet paper and salad.

The Echo have also been made aware of shops selling out-of-date food from other stores.

In response to this, a BCP Council spokesman said: “Where there is evidence of food being sold beyond the ‘use by’ date, Trading Standards will be in contact with the retailer concerned to remind them of their ongoing duty to supply food that is safe for the public.

“Incidents of food on sale past the use by date in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole can be reported to trading.standards@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.”