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Proposed is a polymeric variable optical attenuator based on long range surface plasmon polaritons (LRSPPs) along a thin metal stripe embedded in polymers. The device is operated by controlling radiation loss of the LRSPP mode resulting from the temperature gradient of the polymer cladding caused by a heater. For guiding LRSPPs and efficient coupling of singlemode fibres, gold stripes 20 nm thick, 4 μm wide and 1 cm long are utilised. To obtain a long physical lifetime, the heater is formed on the top of the polymer cladding with a 200 nm Au film which is about ten times thicker than the thin metal waveguide. The fabricated device is characterised at a wavelength of 1.55 μm, exhibiting high attenuation of less than 30 dB with an operating power of 100 mW. A fibre-to-fibre total insertion loss of 6.1 dB is achieved when using singlemode fibres.