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A disqualified driver more than twice the legal alcohol limit was sprung after coming across police investigating an unrelated callout in Dunedin last night.
Police were called to John Wilson Ocean Drive in St Kilda at 9.10pm, after a member of the public saw a man walking into the surf and not coming out.
The woman and her partner were sure it was a person and not a sea lion, which have been frequenting the area, Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen said.
Police and search and rescue crew members went to the scene but were unable to find any evidence, other than a set of footprints leading away from the water.
They would be checking the beach again today, he said.
At 9.45pm, while police were still at the scene, a car came to a sudden stop in front of them.
The couple inside were heard arguing, and the male driver appeared to be intoxicated.
He recorded a breath alcohol level of 600mcg, and was also found to be a disqualified driver.
He has been charged with drink driving and driving while disqualified.