A 73-year-old man who had been pulled over for driving without his headlights was arrested by a Seattle police officer, after he tried to snort cocaine in front of the stunned patrolman. The entire incident was captured on a camera fitted to the police car.

Video footage of the incident, recorded by the police car dashcam, shows the officer walk over to check the unnamed man's license and registration during a traffic stop on 1 December. When the patrolman walks back to the man's Toyota, he peers into the car to see the man "portioning out a scoop of cocaine from a small glass vial" according to a Seattle police department statement.

"What is that? Are you kidding? You're about to snort coke on the side of the road?" Officer Nic Abts-Olsen can be heard saying to the man.

The man, startled to see Abts-Olsen, then spilled the white powder onto his hands and on the car floor, before telling the officer it was "vitamins".

"Finally, the man relented, complimented Officer Abts-Olsen on his keen detection skills and admitted that snorting cocaine in the middle of a traffic stop was, perhaps, a poor decision," the department's statement said.

The man was arrested and booked into the King County Jail for narcotics possession. Abts-Olsen told the man, who had an unblemished driving record, that he was going to let him off with a warning for driving without his headlights, but had to arrest him because of the cocaine.