A Sussex Police statement says that Brian Dawkins was pulled over in the Lidl car park in Lyndhurst Road, Worthing, at 2.20pm on December 11, shortly before the school run.
He failed a roadside breath test and was charged with driving with 56mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system.
But the statement adds that the unemployed 58-year-old, of Goring Road, Goring, had originally come to officers’ attention 20 minutes earlier.
He was seen parked in a car park opposite Worthing Hospital by a civil enforcement officer who, after speaking to him, reported that he smelt of alcohol.
Acting on this intelligence, police attended and found the vehicle stationary and the driver not at the scene.
They waited nearby, and shortly afterwards witnessed a man return to the vehicle and pull away onto Lyndhurst Road.
After he was arrested, Dawkins told police he drove better when drunk. He added that the risk he took by drink-driving was similar to that of police driving to emergencies.
He pleaded guilty to drink-driving at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (December 29) and was disqualified from driving for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay a £125 fine, £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.