AN ECCLES shop has faced criticism after hiking up prices in an apparent bid to profit from the current coronavirus pandemic.

Shoppers have accused the owners of Best Bargains on Fox Street, Eccles, of attempting to cash in on shortages of essential products, with some contacting the police to report the shop.

Boris Johnson has said the government could bring in new laws to crack down on profiteering to prevent unscrupulous traders taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak.

The prime minister said MPs may have to look at legislation to ban people from ramping up prices amid reports of sky-high price tags on vital goods such a toilet roll, hand sanitiser and baby milk.

Sgt Simon Judd, of Eccles Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "I am aware of local residents concerns re: raising of prices at this store and possibly others in the town centre.

"Last week my officers visited and asked the owners to consider closing which they did, but they have now re-opened.

"This store, as a retailer of homewear, is allowed to stay open under the public health protection act so we can't insist it is closed.

"However due to the inflated prices of some products the store and any others that artificially raise prices are being dealt with by Trading Standards."

Downing Street said a new taskforce had been set up by the competition watchdog to end exploitation, which had the power to hand out "significant fines".

The prime minister's spokesperson told a Westminster briefing: "The prime minister is clear that we don't want to see profiteering of any kind and traders must stop any excessive price increases.

"The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has created a specific Covid 19 taskforce to address and remedy concerns that some businesses are exploiting consumers through harmful sales and pricing practices.

"We would urge anybody who has any concerns to report those to the CMA. The CMA can use a range of competition and consumer powers to tackle bad behaviour including significant fines."

The government will also look at "further action" if necessary, the spokesperson added.