Gunman takes staff hostage at Nuneaton bowling alley

Adam Arnold and Alan McGuinness, News Reporters

A man armed with a shotgun has taken two members of staff hostage at a bowling alley.

Mehdi Amshar, chief executive of MFA Bowl, told Sky News it is believed the gunman is an ex-husband or ex-boyfriend of one of the employees who is being held in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

Police say they are dealing with an "ongoing incident" and are urging people to avoid the area. It is "unconnected to any terrorist activity", they added.

Bangs and flashes have been reported at the scene, with Sky's Joe Tidy saying around 15 armed officers have been seen running towards the bowling alley.

Mr Amshar said all other members of staff are safe and the customers who were inside the bowling alley have left safely.

Witness Lawrence Hallett, said he saw a man walking towards him carrying a shotgun and then ran "hell for leather" out of the bowling alley, which is in the Bermuda Park leisure complex.

He told Sky News: "We 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."

Alex Moore-Holland, who was in the bowling alley, said the gunman shouted "game over, game over" as he brandished his weapon.

Footage from the scene showed armed officers in a car park along with several police vehicles.

Sarah Fleming said she was in a nearby Frankie and Benny's restaurant and police told her she would have to stay there for four to five hours.

No-one was allowed in or out of the premises, where there were lots of children, she said.

She added: "Everyone is a little bit scared at the minute."

Ms Fleming said she had not seen the gunman herself, but had been told about the armed man by police who surrounded the building.

Another witness at the restaurant, Laura Mjeshtri, said a waitress ran in and said the place was on lockdown.

She said: "I panicked and popped my children under the table."

Ms Mjeshtri said she was eventually allowed to leave after police moved her car to a safer place.

Witness Carl Lenton, who was also at Frankie and Benny's, said the manager told him the area was in lockdown after a man had a gun nearby.

He said police cars were at the scene, along with a helicopter and police dogs.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Lenton said it was "quite scary at times".

He said he was able to leave the restaurant after he gave officers his car keys and they brought the vehicle around.

Mr Lenton said customers who were allowed to leave had cars further away from the immediate area of the "ongoing incident", while people with vehicles closer had to remain.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said an air ambulance had landed at the scene, but has since left. There are no injuries at present, they added.

The park includes a cinema, soft play area, fitness centre, as well as the bowling alley.

Nuneaton MP Marcus Jones told Sky News: "It is a situation where I think we need to let the police do their job and I think this is an extremely concerning situation.

"But I have every confidence that Warwickshire Police are capable and are able to deal with what looks like a very difficult situation."

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