Superconducting detectors based on parallel microscopic strip-lines are promising candidates for single molecule detection in time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The device physics of this configuration is complex. In this letter, we employ nano-optical techniques to study the variation of current density, count rate, and pulse amplitude transversely across the parallel strip device. Using the phenomenological London theory, we are able to correlate our results to a non-uniform current distribution between the strips, governed by the London magnetic penetration depth. This fresh perspective convincingly explains anomalous behaviour in large area parallel superconducting strip-line detectors reported in previous studies. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.