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Nicola Bulley: Six things we know about the search one week after disappearance

Nicola Bulley's missing poster <i>(Image: PA/Peter Byrne)</i>
Nicola Bulley's missing poster (Image: PA/Peter Byrne)

It has been one week since Lancashire mum-of-two Nicola Bulley disappeared and the missing person’s investigation is still ongoing.

Nicola, from Inskip, went missing on Friday (January 27) and since then police have launched a huge search operation in a bid to find the mum-of-two.

Searches have been carried out by Lancashire Police using drones and police dogs, with support from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue team and the North West Underwater Search Team.

Friends and family have also opened up about their desperation to find her.

Lancashire Telegraph: Last known movements of Nicola Bulley
Lancashire Telegraph: Last known movements of Nicola Bulley

Last known movements of Nicola Bulley (Image: PA)

Since last Friday a lot of information and evidence has surfaced that might be key in finding Nicola.

Here are six things know about the search operation so far:

1. Nicola was walking her dog when she disappeared

Nicola Bulley with her dog (Image: Lancs Police)

Ms Bulley was last seen walking her dog, a brown-coloured spaniel, near the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre.

The dog running loose alerted a member of the public and police were called.

Police indicated she had done a school drop-off before going on a regular dog walk.

2. A mobile phone was found near where she disappeared

 

Lancashire Telegraph: Nicola Bulley
Lancashire Telegraph: Nicola Bulley

Nicola Bulley (Image: PA/Peter Byrne)

Police said Nicola’s phone was discovered on a bench near the riverbank while the dog was found loose between a river and bench.

Superintendent Sally Riley from Lancashire Police said: “The dog was found about an hour later, as was her mobile phone, so her family are very concerned, as are we. We’ve mounted a really intensive operation to try to find Nicola.”

Flowers have since left on the bench included a hand-written message: “My thoughts and prayers go out to your family and Willow. Love a fellow dog walker.”

 

3. She was on a Microsoft Teams call around the time of her disappearance

Police say Ms Bulley was last seen at 9.10am last Friday, while walking her dog and she had logged on to a work Teams call, which ended at 9.30am with her still logged on.

 

4. Police do not believe any crime has been committed

In an update on Monday, police said they believe it is likely Ms Bulley has gone missing as opposed to any crime having been committed.

Superintendent Sally said: “The police are keeping a really open mind about what could have happened but we do believe that the likelihood is that Nicola has gone missing and this is not a crime inquiry, but we are keeping an open mind.”

Lancashire Police said that despite “unanswered questions”, people should not “speculate or spread false rumours” about the disappearance.

 

5.Police divers have been checking surrounding rivers

 

Lancashire Telegraph: A diver searches in the River Wyre, in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire
Lancashire Telegraph: A diver searches in the River Wyre, in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire

A diver searches in the River Wyre, in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire (Image: Peter Byrne/PA)

On Thursday (February 3) it was reported that police divers were are searching a river.

Officers from the North West Police Underwater and Marine support unit brought equipment to the banks of the River Wyre, close to the bench where her mobile phone was found.

Police divers disappeared under the water, making sweeps of the breadth of the river as more officers with underwater search equipment arrived, while a sizeable gathering of reporters and photographers watched.

Sniffer dogs, drones and a police helicopter have also been used in the search of the river which cuts through farmland.

6. Two witnesses spotted Nicola with her dog before her disappearance

 

At the time of writing, police have approached two potential witnesses during their search.

Christine Bowman, 67,  was one of them. She had been identified as a dog walker who may have been one of the last people to see Ms Bulley before her disappearance.

But after Ms Bowman, a retired teacher, was traced following a police appeal, she told the Daily Mirror she had already spoken to officers and “doesn’t know anything”.

On Tuesday, Lancashire Police had appealed to find a man who was believed to also have been in the area at the time Nicola was last seen.

Police had said the man, who was walking a small white fluffy dog on a lead, had spoken to a woman in the area who found Ms Bulley’s dog, before he walked in the direction of Rowanwater.

He was found later that day.

A police spokesman said of the potential witness: “He has since been located and is currently being spoken to.

“Our thanks to those who shared our appeal.”

Anybody who has information should call 101, quoting log 473 of January 27, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.