SHOPPERS have expressed outrage at businesses selling essential items at inflated rates during the coronavirus crisis.

The Argus has received reports that some shops and chemists across Brighton and Hove are charging extortionate prices for items such as hand sanitiser, painkillers and loo roll.

Two shoppers said they saw items in one shop being sold for “more than double” the normal price.

One said: “The shop had a display in the window with masks, hand wash and hand sanitiser.

“But a quick look inside showed the price of the sanitiser to be £17.99 for a small 50ml bottle.

“A similar product in Aldi or Lidl costs less than £1, so that’s more than ten times the price.”

Hove resident Tim Cooke was walking down North Street when he noticed one shop was selling toilet roll.

The 53-year-old languages teacher said: “I saw to my surprise they were charging £9.99 for 12 rolls.

“It’s cheeky, although I realise these guys are going to take a bashing with their salaries too, so I understand it.”

Andrew Harris visited a pharmacy in Hove to pick up a prescription.

The 54-year-old said the pharmacy was charging £15 for a protective face mask or £25 for two.

He said: “I went in and was there when they sold the last one. The manager came out and I said asked him why he’s selling them for £15.

“I was told they buy them for £8, but they come in packs of two.

“Even if they’re buying them for £8 each that’s still a huge mark-up.”

The moulded cup respirator masks, which are made by Ox, are sold online in packs of ten for £36.

Mr Harris said: “They’re taking advantage of people at a vulnerable time.”

The Argus tried to contact the two shops but was unable to get through.

Another shopper reported Osbon Parris and Greening Pharmacy in Church Road, Hove, was selling 100ml bottles of hand gel for £5 and paracetamol for £2.65.

Gillian Blake said she was looking for paracetamol and had been unable to find any in larger supermarkets in Hove.

She said: “They have been charging £5 for tiny bottles of what is just glycerol liquid.”

Parris and Greening declined to comment.

Photographer Daniel Moon spotted hand sanitiser also being sold for £5 in Tran clothes shop in Queen’s Road, Brighton.

He said: “ The bottles were £5 for about 50ml, and they’re normally about £1.50.

“It’s pretty bad. They’re a clothes shop anyway.”

The Argus tried to contact Tran but could not get through.