The number of businesses and individuals hiking prices to take advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak has been described as "appalling".

Over the past fortnight, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has issued a series of warnings about price gouging and scams.

Having received a seemingly endless line of reports of profiteering, CTSI chief executive Leon Livermore, said: "Like most people, my CTSI colleagues and I are appalled by the behaviour of some businesses at this time. The vast majority of businesses have responded responsibly and demonstrated all that is good about British business.

"Much of our legislation is unfit for the context of this emergency and was never designed for it. We are grateful for the work of our profession and partners in helping to protect the public from scams and other unscrupulous behaviours under challenging circumstances.

“We are reviewing the relevant legislation and are considering potential applications in these unprecedented circumstances. We are in the process of seeking further guidance and clarification from leading barrister chambers."

Mr Livermore added: "Let me be perfectly clear - it is heartbreaking that we have to go through this process to get certain businesses to act in a responsible manner.

"My message to business is this - if you are inflating prices to profit off the backs of your community and their distress, then you are not just severely damaging your reputation and your long-term prospects as a business, it also shows what type of human being you are.

"The British public will remember which individuals and businesses support them at this time and which showed utter contempt for them and vote with their wallets once this crisis ends."