Sting nets fourth nuclear trader

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BONN - German police said yesterday they had arrested another man in connection with nuclear smuggling - just days after the apparently unrelated arrest of three men in Munich, for bringing more than 300g of weapons-grade plutonium on a flight from Moscow, writes Steve Crawshaw.

The latest arrest - which took place last week, but was only revealed yesterday - was in the north German town of Bremen, during another sting operation. A 34-year-old man was arrested while handing over a capsule containing less than 1mg of pure plutonium as a sample of his wares. He was offering a total of 68g and there were fears yesterday that it might still be 'floating around' north Germany, unaccounted for.

Politicians from all sides have emphasised the threat of nuclear trading. Johannes Gerster, a senior figure in the ruling Christian Democrats, talked of Germany as an an international clearing-house for nuclear smuggling. He warned: 'In this area, it really is five past midnight.'