An hardware store is to be stripped of its company branding after selling hand sanitiser for almost seven times its original price.

Inex Irvine store on the High Street has now been expelled from the Home Hardware Direct brand for increasing the price of several products in high demand as the country enters lockdown.

Sales of hand sanitiser have tripled as the outbreak has spread across the UK, with worried shoppers attempting to protect themselves from the virus.

One elderly woman complained of buying a 100ml bottle of hand sanitiser for £6.99 - when it had been sold at just £1 previously.

Home Hardware Direct has said the actions of the store, which has operated under its branding for a number of years, has tarnished its reputation and brought the brand into disrepute.

Directors have now decided to cease the membership of Inex Irvine.

Chief executive Brian Ferguson said: "Their actions had a detrimental effect on the reputation of other members shops and also brought the Home Hardware brand into disrepute.

"Our shops are proud of the customer service that they offer and are very upset and angry that the Irvine shop tarnished our reputation with their actions."

Bosses confirmed they would look to strip the shop of its branded signage as soon as restrictions imposed by the government to tackle the spread of coronavirus are lifted.

Mr Ferguson added: "Having consulted with our local Trading Standards representative, we have been advised that we have acted correctly under these difficult circumstances."

However the store insisted it was never their intention to take advantage of the crisis, and say the issue lays with inflated wholesale prices.

A statement pinned to their door said: "We are unable to get regular stock of these products at normal prices from our normal supplier Home Hardware Scotland Ltd, and are therefore having to buy at highly inflated wholesale prices.

"We honestly do not like to do this but our lovely customers are demanding these products so we are reluctantly having to get them in."

They confirmed they would remove the stock from their shelves and avoid restocking, regardless of customer demand.

"We thought we were doing out dear customers a favour," the statement continued. "I guess they'll just have to wait till we can get these products from our normal suppliers at reasonable prices.

"Still, we are very sorry this has caused you discomfort and grievance."