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A witness claims it took police searching for Nicola Bulley nine days to contact him after he reported “two suspicious men” near to where the mum-of-two went missing. The man, who did not wish to be named, said he saw the individuals the day before Ms Bulley went missing on January 27. Worryingly he claims he saw one of the men again on Ms Bulley’s dog walking route on the morning she disappeared.
The man told The Sun the sighting made him feel “very strange” and “uneasy” but he did not report it until he heard Ms Bulley had gone missing, which was on January 29. He says he phoned police first thing on the Monday, telling them he’d seen the two men acting “strange” and hiding their faces.
He said: “I was away all that weekend so only heard about Nicola Bulley going missing on Sunday. I saw the police were appealing for information and it struck me that I should tell them what I saw, so I rang them on the Monday.”
Ms Bulley, 45, disappeared near a river in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancs, at the end of January after walking her dog Willow. The dog and Ms Bulley’s phone were found by a bench near the river. Lancashire Police have been working on the theory Ms Bulley fell into the river but her partner Paul Ansell and friends and family believe something else may have happened to her.
According to The Sun the witness saw two men at round 8am on Thursday January 26 near to the area Ms Bulley would go missing from just over 24 hours later. The men were described as wearing “dark clothing” and “hoods or hats”. They were also carrying fishing rods.
The man told the paper the pair could have been “normal fishermen” but he said “they seemed to want to hide their faces”. One of the men was seen again on January 27 near to the bridge in St Michae’s on Wyre.
The witness said: “This time it was just a glimpse, but I definitely saw one of them. I think I saw the second man, who was way ahead of the other, but I have been going over it a lot in my mind and I couldn’t swear my life on it.
“Again, the man I saw was carrying a fishing rod and covering his face.”
According to the witness the man did not seem to be carrying a bait or tackle box, which he said seemed “odd’. The man said he contacted Lancashire Police on Monday January 30 and again on Friday February 3, but did not hear back from them until Wednesday February 8.
He said: “It’s frustrating — it would have been much better if I had been spoken to straight away as it was fresher in my mind.”
Friends and family have shown missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley has not been forgotten by leaving yellow ribbons with handwritten messages on a bridge close to where she disappeared.
Ms Bulley vanished on January 27 while walking her springer spaniel Willow in St Michael’s on Wyre in Lancashire, shortly after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, at school.
Ribbons with messages including “We need you home Nicola”, “praying for your safe return” and “I love you” have been tied to a footbridge over the River Wyre.
A large poster with a photograph of Ms Bulley has also been attached to the railings.
It comes as the search for Ms Bulley, 45, a mortgage adviser from Inskip, has entered the 17th day.
Lancashire Police are continuing to trawl the River Wyre towards the sea at Morecambe Bay, working on one hypothesis that Ms Bulley could have fallen in.
The search has been aided by specialists and divers from HM Coastguard, mountain rescue and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, with sniffer dogs, drones and police helicopters.
Ms Bulley’s partner, Paul Ansell, said he wants to keep “all options open” about her disappearance, but his “gut instinct” tells him she is not in the river.
He described Ms Bulley as “fun”, “loving”, “the most loyal friend you could ever have” and an “exceptional mum” who “absolutely adores our girls”.
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