BUSINESSES which have hiked prices due to the coronavirus outbreak will be reported to Trading Standards, Bradford Council’s leader has warned.

The announcement came after Keighley people reported shops in the town increasing prices considerably to bump up their profits.

In an announcement, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said she had been “angered” by shops which have “sought to make money out of worried people by hiking up prices on essential items”.

She urged them to immediately stop and said the Council would be reporting it to Trading Standards.

Concern has been raised across Keighley and Bradford about price hikes.

One Keighley News reader, who wished to remain anonymous, said some small shops were charging people "way over the odds" for their regular shopping.

Another resident said: "I bought some chicken and a 2 kg of lentils, I went to the counter and to my astonishment I was charged £35.

"I didn't question this at the time, but later spoke to a few people from Keighley who had encountered the same thing."

Pictures of green chillis with extortionate price tags emerged on social media, while one woman reported how she was charged £9.50 for toilet roll.

In some cases, people have been charged £15.99 for green peppers and £8 for sugar. And, controversially, halal meat has risen from its normal price of £8 per kilo to £12 per kilo in some shops.

Those in the industry put it down to the supply chain and suppliers raising prices.

Councillor Hinchcliffe also slammed panic buying as “completely unnecessary”.

Alarming pictures have emerged of empty shelves in supermarkets across the district as shoppers scramble for the essentials amid quarantine and lockdown fear.

“Times such as this bring out the best and the worst in us,” Cllr Hinchcliffe said.

“We have all been staggered by the run on some items in supermarkets. The supermarkets have clearly said there is enough food to go round if we all buy our fair share and no more.”

Most supermarket chains have brought in measures to tackle the issue of stockpiling.

One Bradford woman, who asked not to be named, made an impassioned plea to people to think of others.

She is currently caring for her husband who has advanced cancer so needs to ensure she can buy staple products and essentials like wipes and handwash.

The woman said: “It is selfish of people to clear the shelves of products which we so desperately need along with foods like bread.

“Due to this panic buying, it is putting unmanageable stress upon us. I am his main carer/his only carer and I have had to traipse round supermarket after supermarket only to find all the shelves empty.”

She said the Morrisons store she went to “had nothing once again”.

“The customer service advisor told me that they are opening at 6 am and people are buying everything then.

“She has had older people on the phone asking how they can buy bread and food and saying they can’t travel about due to being elderly.

“This is such selfishness by some people who have a total disregard for those with any form of illness, disability, or inability to shop in bulk at 6 am.”

The woman said she is “worrying sick” and is anxious about picking up viruses herself, as because she is her husband’s main carer, there is no-one else.

She said: “Wandering around supermarket after supermarket just exposes me to heightened risk.

“Life is so hard for us but made so much harder by other people’s greed and selfishness.”