A man has taken several people hostage in the old town hall in Ingolstadt in southern Germany – just hours before a scheduled visit by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Bavarian police are reported to be in contact with the man, who is said to be armed. His motives are as yet unclear.

The incident began just before 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Monday.

The hostages are said to be in a deputy mayor’s office on the first floor and police have cordoned off the building.

But mayor Alfred Lehmann, of the conservative Bavarian CSU party, is not among the hostages, police said.

There are no reports of any link to Chancellor Merkel’s planned visit, which is part of her campaign ahead of elections on 22 September.

Mrs Merkel’s election rally with Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer is scheduled for 17:00 but now it is not clear if it will go ahead.