A Hove supermarket removed its food bank donation trolley after panic buyers were spotted raiding it.
A customer alerted staff to items being taken from the trolley behind the tills at the Tesco superstore in Church Road, Hove.
They asked customers to leave donations with cashiers at the checkouts to make sure it gets to those who need it most.
The trolley was returned to its usual place on Tuesday afternoon.
The removal was spotted by former councillor Chris Hawtree, who said: “I was shocked to hear in a #Hove supermarket that its food-bank basket has been taken out the back because people were stealing tins from it as they could not find stock to buy.”
On Sunday, Tesco and all the other big supermarket groups issued a joint statement urging customers to remain calm and not to stockpile.
It said: “We know that many of you are worried about the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
“We want to let you know that we are doing everything we can so that you and your families have the food and essentials you need.
“We are working closely with Government and our suppliers to keep food moving quickly through the system and making more deliveries to our stores to ensure our shelves are stocked.
“Those of us with online delivery and click-and-collect services are running them at full capacity to help you get the products you need when you need them.
“We thank all our colleagues in stores and supply chains who are working day and night to keep the nation fed.
“But we need your help too.
“We would ask everyone to be considerate in the way they shop. We understand your concerns but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without.
“There is enough for everyone if we all work together.
“Together we can make sure we are looking out for family, friends, neighbours.
“Together we will care for those around us and those who are elderly, vulnerable or choosing to remain at home.
“We are doing all we can to rise to this challenge. Serving you and keeping you and everyone who works with us safe will always be our priority.”