A gunman is holding two members of staff hostage hostage at a bowling alley in Warwickshire.

The public has been warned to stay away from Bermuda Park in the Midlands, which has been placed on lockdown by armed police.

Chief executive of MFA Bowl Mehdi Amshar told Sky News that he had been informed the pair were being held at gunpoint at the Nuneaton branch.

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Mr Amshar told the broadcaster: “We understand that there is a gunman in the place and he is holding two of our staff as hostage.”

Asked if the gunman is known to staff at the bowling alley, he said: “We believe from what my manageress tells me that he is an ex-husband or a boyfriend of a member of staff. That is what I know, I can’t confirm that for definite.”

Police at the scene at Bermuda ParkPolice at the scene at Bermuda Park (Aaron Chown/PA)

He said there had been no contact with the two members of staff, adding: “All our staff, the rest of our staff, are safe and they made sure that all the customers have left the premises so everybody is in safety, with the exception of the two people who are, we know that are missing and we assume that they are the two that are still inside the premises because the manageress has done the check but those two people are not accounted for.”

The gunman was described by one witness in the bowling alley as an unshaven man in his forties, who was “basically shouting and had a very aggressive demeanour about him”.

Lawrence Hallett, who had been at a family children’s party at the alley, told Sky News: “One of the staff came up to us and quietly whispered in my ear to leave and I initially thought it was a fire alarm or something like that and I said ‘What’s the problem? We are halfway through a game’ and he said ‘There is a gunman’.

HeraldScotland:

“I looked up and there was a guy, probably 20 or 30 feet away, walking towards us with a sawn-off shotgun sort of slung over his shoulder, if you like.

“I thought it was a joke and panicked a little bit and shouted ‘everyone get out’, and basically ran, hell for leather, out of the building.

“We then hung around outside for a little while … we didn’t know what to do, what was going on and he came out and swore and said ‘what the heck are you guys’ … unslung his gun and went back in again and at that point we backed off to our cars.

Police at the scene near Bermuda ParkPolice at the scene near Bermuda Park (Aaron Chown/PA)

“He was a 40-odd year-old guy, a bit rough around the edges, unshaven etc, etc.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service said it was called to the incident at 3.40pm and sent an ambulance, two paramedic officers, the Hazardous Area Response Team, and an emergency planning manager to the scene.

It tweeted: “There are no casualties at present.”

Children were evacuated from the nearby Bermuda Adventure Soft Play World, Megan Westwood, who was there with a friend said.

She told BBC News: “One of the staff told us to get away from the windows because there was a man outside with a knife. As time went on we were later told that he actually had a gun and they barricaded the doors, kept us all away from the windows, and then we were told that he had hostages in the bowling alley next to us.”

They were evacuated by the back door into the Holiday Inn Express hotel, which she said was “full of children at the minute”.