Minors Could Participate in Underage Alcohol Stings ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

If an Interior Ministry proposal goes through, law enforcement could have the option of using people under 18 in retail sting operations.

The idea was the ministry's input into a new draft Alcohol Act for which the Agriculture Ministry is gathering endorsements.

"If we change the law so that the test purchases can be made by minors, we see it as an additional measure and way of checking alcohol retailers," said Jenny Jakobson, adviser to the Interior Ministry, on uudised.err.ee.

"Naturally the adult official must be closely involved," she added.

Consumer Protection Board specialist Epp Joala said she was skeptical that it would end up in legislation.

"The relevant provision will probably have to provide a response to the question of whether it is possible to codify such an option, especially that such activity has previously been called imitating a crime, which has been prohibited."

Currently purchases of alcohol by a minor are punishable by about 80 euros.

Selling an alcoholic beverage to minors is a misdemeanor as a first offense and a crime the next time.

Another proposal advanced by the Interior Ministry is to review the possibility of "lending" alcohol to evade the restrictions on the sale of alcohol between the hours of 22:00 and 10:00.

Currently alcohol can be bought online or over the telephone, with the product delivered to parcel machines. Minors are believed to have access to alcohol in this manner.

Jakobson said the ministry was calling for "analysis" and did not lay out any specific measures to prevent such transactions.