A supermarket has banned young foreigners from buying alcohol.

Customers from the European Union (EU) are being turned away despite showing their passports as proof of age.

The Somerfield store in Brighton was accused of discriminating against non-British nationals last night but said it had no choice.

Katrien Rennemeier and Jessica Olsen were furious when they were denied alcohol despite having valid passports.

Staff told Belgian Ms Rennemeier, 22, and 24-year-old Ms Olsen, from Denmark, they could only accept a British driving licence, passport or citizen card as proof of age.

Ms Rennemeier attempted to use her European ID card to buy six bottles of lager at the store in St James's Street, Kemp Town.

Staff refused so she went to her nearby house in Manchester Street to collect her passport. Yet on her return staff still refused to serve her.

Ms Rennemeier said: "By the time we were done there, the store manager and security had joined what was turning into a debate on rights. They pointed to a single poster on a wall somewhere which said only people with a UK passport logo could buy alcohol and signed The Council'.

"I couldn't believe what I was hearing. We make an honest living, pay our taxes, recycle and keep down the noise.

"I understand there may be a drinking problem to deal with in British society but targeting foreigners living here is really not going to solve the issue. I am disgusted."

A spokeswoman for Somerfield said a strict code of practice was in place for alcohol sales and staff training regarding licensing laws.

She added: "We work very closely with local police, other retailers and local authorities to address under-age alcohol sales across the country, and actively train our store colleagues to ask anyone who looks under 21 years of age for ID.

"At present, only British passports, British driving licenses or citizen cards are accepted as proof of age in Somerfield stores.

"We would like to apologise to the two girls affected by this incident."

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman moved to distance the authority from the row and said officers will be visiting Somerfield to clarify the law.