The detective leading the hunt for Nicola Bulley has stressed the force is doing all it can to find the missing mum-of-two as the search enters its second week.
And as part of our continuing efforts, we are again appealing for anyone with dashcam or other footage to submit it to us.
Our working hypothesis remains that Nicola, 45, sadly fell into the river for some reason, but we remain open minded, and we are continuing to carry out a huge number of enquiries.
Our priority throughout this investigation has been on finding Nicola and providing answers for her family. They are being supported by specially trained officers.
In a new statement released today Nicola’s partner Paul Ansell said:
“It’s been ten days now since Nicola went missing and I have two little girls who miss their mummy desperately and who need her back. This has been such a tough time for the girls especially but also for me and all of Nicola’s family and friends, as well as the wider community and I want to thank them for their love and support. We are also really grateful to Peter and his team from SGI for coming up and helping support the work of Lancashire Police as they continue their investigation. If anyone has any information which could help find Nicola, I urge them to get in touch with the police and help us provide the answers we all so badly need.”
Our enquiries so far have included searches of the river and riverbank which have extended all the way to the sea using specialist search teams, sonar, search dogs, drone and helicopter, house to house and CCTV. We have also spoken to numerous witnesses, analysed Nicola’s mobile phone and fitbit and searched the derelict house on the other side of the river as well as any empty caravans in the vicinity.
We have received a huge amount of information into the enquiry, all of which is being looked at, and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has assisted our investigation so far.
We would like to remind people that much of the speculation and comments on social media are both unhelpful to the investigation and, more importantly, hurtful for the family, who are going through agony as they wait for answers.
Nicola was last seen on Friday morning (January 27th) at around 9.20am on the upper field by the river off Garstang Road where she had taken her Spaniel Willow for a walk after dropping her children at school in the village.
Nicola on her Ring Doorbell on Friday, Jan 27th
Our CCTV enquiries have focused on Nicola’s movements and whether she could have left the fields near to the river, whether that be via Allotment Lane, the river path leading to Garstang Road, or by Rowanwater at the top of the upper field.
Most of our sightings of Nicola have been by witnesses who knew her and that has enabled us to plot her movements from the school, along the river path and into the field.
We can say with confidence that by reviewing CCTV, Nicola has not left the field during the key times via Rowanwater, either through the site itself or via the piece of land at the side.
Also, we can say that she did not return from the fields along Allotment Lane or via the path at the rear of the Grapes pub onto Garstang Road.
Our enquiries now focus on the river path which leads from the fields back to Garstang Road – for that we need drivers and cyclists who travelled that way on the morning of January 27 to make contact. We have already done a lot of work around this, but every piece of footage helps us build up a picture of movements on that morning.
We will be making contact with drivers, who we believe were travelling down Garstang Road that morning via letter. If you receive one of these letters and have dashcam footage, we would urge you to make contact so that a member of the enquiry team can make contact and review your footage to establish whether it assists. We would ask that only drivers that do have dashcam footage reply to this request.
Today we have been joined by a search team from Specialist Group International (SGI) who are assisting us with the search of the river, and we are grateful to them for their help.
We are also grateful to all the members of the public who have come out to search and we would remind people not to put themselves at risk and to stick to public land.
Detective Supt Rebecca Smith said:
“The team working on this investigation are completely dedicated and determined to find Nicola.
“As a mother myself, I can’t even begin to imagine what her two children are going through.
“Please be reassured that our sole focus is Nicola and that we are doing everything we can to find her.
“It is not possible to provide every piece of information to the public because to do so would detract from the investigation, but I’d like to thank everyone who has assisted us so far and for the support provided to Nicola’s family at this extremely difficult time.
“They are being supported and updated throughout.
“I would ask that anyone who was driving/cycling through St Michael’s last Friday morning and who has dashcam footage to get in touch with us if they haven’t already done so. I would also ask in fisherman who may have been in the area at the time to make contact if you feel you can assist.
“I would also appeal again to anyone who has any other footage – CCTV or Ring Doorbell for example, or any other information, no matter how insignificant you might think it is, to contact us as every small piece can help us build up a picture.”
As a reminder Nicola is white, 5ft 3ins tall, with light brown shoulder-length hair. She speaks with an Essex accent. She was last seen wearing a long, knee length black quilted gilet with a hood. She had a black Engelbert Strauss coat underneath which had long sleeves and came to her waist. She was wearing tight black jeans and had long green walking socks tucked into her jeans. She was wearing size 5 ankle length green wellington boots from Next.
Her hair was tied into a ponytail. She was wearing a pale blue fitbit.
Anyone with information or footage is asked to call 101, quoting log 565 of January 30.
For any immediate sightings, please call 999.
8.26am: Nicola leaves her home address with her children
8.40am: Nicola drops the children off at school and has a brief conversation with another parent
8.43am: Nicola walked along the path by the River Wyre towards the gate/bench into the lower field, having dropped her children off at school
8:47am (approximately): A dog-walker – somebody who knows Nicola – saw her walking around the lower field with her dog. Their two dogs interacted briefly before the witness left the field via the river path
8.53am: She sent an email to her boss
8.59 am: She sent message to a friend
9.01am: She logged into a Teams call
9.10am (approximately): A witness – somebody who knows Nicola – saw her on the upper field walking her dog, Willow. Work is ongoing today to establish exactly what time this was.
9.20am: Her phone was back in the area of the bench
9.30am: The Teams call ended but Nicola stayed logged on
9.33am (approximately): Nicola’s mobile phone and Willow were found at a bench by the river by another dog-walker.