A letter bomb caught fire at the offices of a senior British MEP today but no one was hurt.

It was addressed to Gary Titley, leader of the UK Labour members, and was opened by a member of his staff in his office in greater Manchester.

It was the third confirmed device targeted at European MEPs and the first known to have been sent to the UK.

A letter bomb exploded earlier at the European Parliament in Brussels. Up to three further devices or suspicious deliveries were intercepted. The bomb had been addressed to the German Christian Democrat, Hans-Gert Poettering, President of the European People's Party.

It exploded as it was being opened by an assistant but there were no injuries.And a suspicious letter was sent to Jose Ignacio Salafranca Sanchez-Neyra of Spain.

All the letters under suspicion today were sent from Bologna on 22 December. At least two such bombs exploded there over Christmas, one in a bin outside the home of the Commission President, Romano Prodi, and one in his house.

The heads of the European Central Bank, Europol and the crime-fighting organisation Eurojust were also targeted between Christmas and New Year.

Italian anarchists are believed to be behind the campaign

Foreign Affairs Minister Brian Cowan has condemned the incidents as an attack on democracy.