Police forces have been criticised and reminded of government guidelines after reports over the weekend that shops were told what they should and should not sell during the lockdown.
Some stores have reportedly been told by police and local councils that chocolate eggs are non-essential goods.
The government has issued no official guidelines on what can be sold by convenience stores, newsagents and off-licences, all of which are deemed essential stores and allowed to stay open under the existing laws.
The Association of Convenience Stores, which represents more than 30,000 UK shops, blamed “overzealous enforcement and a misreading of the rules”.
Asked about the reports, the prime minister’s official spokesman said the government guidelines issued to police were “clear”.
“As usual, we would expect them to exercise their discretion over how they use the powers”, he said.
He added: “We have set out which shops can remain open.
“If a shop is allowed to remain open then it will of course sell whatever items it has in stock.”
The comments come after a number of incidents over the weekend in which police were accused of operating with a heavy-hand.
A police officer in Edgware, north-west London, was accused of lacking common sense after he issued a ticket to a bakery using chalk to enforce social-distancing.
On Sunday, Derbyshire police came under fire after officers poured black dye into the “Blue Lagoon” in Buxton to deter people from swimming.
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