Convenience stores selling Easter eggs are facing interference from “heavy-handed” officials trying to restrict the range of goods they can sell under coronavirus curbs, according to the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

Some stores have been told by police and local council officials that the chocolate eggs are considered non-essential goods.

ACS blamed “overzealous enforcement and a misreading of the rules”, and told retailers to carry on selling a full range of goods.

“The government has defined which stores can remain open, and that includes convenience stores, including newsagents and off-licences,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman.

“There is no government definition of which products can be sold within those stores.

“In the cases where officers have challenged retailers and shoppers in this way, it’s brought confusion, distracted retailers in the busiest weeks of their lives and increased the interactions between people at a time when the government is trying to minimise them.”