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Nicola Bulley: TikTok sleuth arrested and fined after posting videos from search area

Dan Duffy, 36, was arrested over a public order offence after he filmed videos of the search area when Nicola Bulley went missing.

Watch: Moment YouTuber who posted videos from Nicola Bulley search scene is arrested

This is the moment an amateur sleuth was arrested after he posted videos on TikTok of the Nicola Bulley search area.

Bulley vanished in the village of St Michael’s on Wyre on 27 January while walking her springer spaniel, Willow, after dropping her two daughters, aged six and nine, at school.

Since then, social media users have been flocking to the area to conduct their own amateur investigations in an attempt to find out what happened to the missing mother.

Dan Duffy, 36, who has filmed his own investigations, was arrested and handcuffed by officers from Lancashire Police last Friday, which the social media user claimed was for a “public order offence”.

Dan Duffy was arrested after he filmed videos of the Nicola Bulley search area. (YouTube)
Dan Duffy was arrested after he filmed videos of the Nicola Bulley search area. (YouTube/Exploring With Danny)

Addressing the camera, he told viewers: “As you all know I was in search to find the missing woman Nicola but this is what it's turning into. No freedom of speech.”

The clip then shows Duffy make a crude gesture to the camera before getting into a waiting police van.

Duffy, of Darwen, Lancashire, claims to have been held in custody for 20 hours and fined £90 for the public order offence.

When asked to comment on Duffy’s claims in his video, Lancashire Police told Yahoo News UK: “A 36-year-old man from Darwen was arrested under Section 4 of the Public Order Act – Fear/Provocation of Violence.

Dan Duffy was fined for a public order offence. (YouTube/Exploring With Danny)
Dan Duffy was fined for a public order offence. (YouTube/Exploring With Danny)

“He was given a Fixed Penalty Notice.”

Duffy’s videos on the Bulley investigation pulled in over one million views on TikTok before his account was apparently suspended for “multiple violations” of its policies.

One of his videos reportedly showed him being confronted by a local resident for his investigations.

An appeal poster on a tree in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as police continue their search for missing woman Nicola Bulley, 45, who vanished on January 27 while walking her springer spaniel Willow shortly after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, at school. Picture date: Monday February 13, 2023.
An appeal poster on a tree in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, as police continue their search for Nicola Bulley. (PA)
Police are still searching for any clues into what happened to Nicola Bulley. (SWNS)
Police are still searching for any clues into what happened to Nicola Bulley. (SWNS)

Duffy’s arrest comes as Lancashire Police issued a fresh warning to social media users to not travel to the area and come up with their own theories as they “distract” the official investigation.

At a press conference at Lancashire Constabulary’s HQ on Wednesday, the force said “TikTokers have been playing private detectives” near the scene of the 45-year-old’s disappearance.

Detective superintendent Rebecca Smith said investigating officers have been “inundated with false information, accusations and rumours” relating to the case.

Asked if “social media video-makers and wannabe detectives have been an annoyance or a hindrance in the inquiry”, she said: “Yes, it has significantly distracted the investigation.

Dan Duffy claims to have been held in police custody for 20 hours. (YouTube/Exploring With Danny)
Dan Duffy claims to have been held in police custody for 20 hours. (YouTube/Exploring With Danny)
Dan Duffy made a crude gesture before he was led away to a police van. (YouTube/Exploring With Danny)
Dan Duffy made a crude gesture before he was led away to a police van. (YouTube/Exploring With Danny)

“In 29 years’ police service I’ve never seen anything like it.

“Some of it’s been quite shocking and really hurtful to the family.

“Obviously, we can’t disregard anything and we’ve reviewed everything that’s come in but of course it has distracted us significantly.”

A 48-hour dispersal order was issued for the Bulley search area last week after people from outside St MIchael’s were spotted filming close to properties.