Sainsbury’s has apologised to a lesbian couple who were warned to stop kissing by a security guard, after a customer complained they were “disgusting”.

University of Sussex student Annabelle Paige says she gave her girlfriend a light kiss while in a Brighton branch of the superstore yesterday, when a security guard approached and told them to either stop kissing or leave.

She told the Times: “We’re quite close, not particularly public displays of affection, but sometimes she’ll walk with her arm around my waist or something.

“I gave her a very brief light kiss, in no way was it like we were standing in the middle of Sainsbury’s making out.

“Out of the blue this security guard comes up to us and says that we can either leave and take it outside or continue our shop without being affectionate – as it was making other customers uncomfortable.

“She told us she was sorry to have said that, but a customer had complained, saying what we were doing was ‘disgusting’ and had claimed they were worried for the safety of their child. That word, disgusting, it really resonated and shook me.

“I get that if another customer is uncomfortable that’s a bad thing, but the problem is the other customer was in the wrong and essentially being homophobic. The guard didn’t seem to understand that, I was absolutely humiliated.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson pointed out that the guard had been employed through a third party, and said: “This should never have happened – it is clear that Miss Paige and her partner were not behaving inappropriately and we are very sorry that they were treated in this way.”

The supermarket chain added: “We have called Miss Paige to apologise and will be making a donation to a charity of her choice.”