Price gouging on products such as potatoes, hand gel and toilet rolls were among dozens of trading standards complaints received by Harrow Council during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council said it has received 52 complaints from residents about retailers hiking up prices during the crisis.

They included one shop putting a 195 per cent mark-up on a bag of potatoes and another gradually increasing the price of hand sanitiser during the outbreak.

Similar incidents were reported in neighbouring Brent, where the council received 67 complaints associated with price gouging.

Cllr Tom Miller, responsible for community engagement and safety at Brent Council, reminded businesses they should “treat customers with fairness and not inflate prices at this difficult time”.

Some shopkeepers said they were forced to increase prices on certain items due to increased costs from their suppliers.

There is no current UK legislation regulating the price of goods, so in general, sellers can charge what they see fit.

Changes were proposed as part of the Coronavirus Bill, but they were not passed by Parliament.

Last month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) advised the government on the introduction of new powers to deal with excessive prices during the pandemic.

Consumers are encouraged to report examples of excessive prices to the CMA.