Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) has been found to have breached competition law on 23 occasions in the past two years, where it was trying to prevent landlords from letting property to other supermarkets near its stores.

The Competition and Markets Authority said it has not been able to fine the company for such breaches but has called on the government to give it these powers.

After initially warning the UK supermarket giant to stop after an initial breach in 2018, the UK’s competition watchdog found two dozen more breaches since.

The CMA said Tesco has now “committed to put an end to these anti-competitive restrictions” but will be monitored and may be hit with formal enforcement action if further breaches are found.

The CMA said it was also writing to all other supermarkets that also have to agree to the rules, namely Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, M&S, Waitrose and the Co-op to show that their land agreements are not in breach.

Andrea Gomes da Silva, Executive Director, Markets and Mergers at the CMA said: “It’s unacceptable that Tesco had these unlawful restrictions in place for up to a decade. By making it harder for other supermarkets to open stores next to its branches, shoppers could have lost out.”