THE post master at Hexham's new post office has defended his decision to sell hand sanitiser at £10 after being accused of profiteering

Ash Singh, group director at VPS group which owns Hexham Convenience Store, came under criticism from the public earlier this week.

Mr Singh said he had purchased 100ml bottles of hand sanitiser from a reputable supplier and was selling them for £9.99, cheaper than the recommended retail price of £12.99.

However, members of the public criticised the decision to sell the product at an inflated price.

Mr Singh said: "Earlier this week, I was giving everybody in the queue some hand sanitiser before they came into the shop.

"A lady put her hand forward, used it and asked how much it was being sold for.

"When I told her the price, I saw the expression on her face and she started swearing. She called us scumbags, said we should be ashamed and accused us of profiteering.

"That is really disrespectful."

After asking the woman to leave the store, Mr Singh said he contacted the trading standards authority at Northumberland County Council to ask whether he was breaking any laws by selling the hand sanitiser for £9.99.

"The trading standards department said it had no concerns with what I was doing and that I could continue selling it," he said.

"Out of my own respect, I rang my staff members and told them to take it off sale.

"But I am not standing on the front line to take abuse.

"I could easily close my stores but I am closely following the Government's advice and keeping them open."

The Northumberland Trading Standards team said it had been investigating highly inflated and misleading pricing of toiletries and similar products as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, and was asking residents to be aware and report any unethical pricing.

Complaints have been received by the service that traders have been selling goods that are already price marked on the packaging, at a much higher price than that displayed.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Regulations 2008 and Guidance for Traders on pricing states that traders ‘need to behave professionally and responsibly in the pricing of their products’.They expected to formulate pricing in accordance with honest market practice and pricing must not be misleading or false.