A private security firm says it has upped patrols in the village Nicola Bulley went missing in because ongoing disturbances from ‘armchair sleuths’.
Spencer Sutcliffe and his team of five are carrying out daily and nightly patrols of St Michaels on Wyre for free to provide a ‘reassuring presence’ due to the amount of people from outside the area descending onto the village.
Today marks three weeks since Nicola was last seen while walking her dog along the River Wyre.
The case has sparked huge interest nationwide, with the leader of Wyre Council, Michael Vincent, revealing today amateur sleuths had even been peering through windows and trying doors.
His claims were backed up by Mr Sutcliffe, who told Metro.co.uk: ‘People are using their camera phones and other video equipment to zoom in on the residents’ homes, randomly knocking on doors and peering through their windows. It is absolutely shocking.
‘Everyone who turns up here is from outside the area and they are the ones causing all the issues.
‘It’s so distressing for local residents, in particularly the older ones who are minding their own business watching the TV. I’ve caught people taking photos of them through their window.’
Mr Sutcliffe says he keeps the patrol times private and moves ‘troublemakers’ on if he catches them.
His work goes hand-in-hand with a dispersal order issued by Lancashire Police, meaning he has been granted extra powers to order people away from the area.
‘These are not young kids I am talking about that are causing a nuisance, it is older people in their 20s, 30s and 40s’, he added.
Although he says some are rude to him, he said the majority do listen, adding: ‘I am 6ft 6ins and weigh 20 stone so I think my appearance puts them off starting on me.’
However, due to the nature of his job, he has been subjected to a lot of trolling and online viciousness directed towards him.
He said: ‘My home address has been put online by the trolls, with comments about me saying I am involved with Nicolas disappearance and colluding with the family. It is absolutely disgusting.
‘I can rise above it though as the bottom line is all I care about is the village and the residents and they keep telling me how grateful they are.
‘I was at the supermarket yesterday with my kids and one lady came up to me, burst into tears, and said thank you for helping her feel safe. I was so emotional too as this has rocked the community.’
Mr Sutcliffe said he will continue to provide the security for free, for as long as locals need him.
He said: ‘The police know we are here and are happy for us to work alongside them.
‘It is not acceptable for strangers to be knocking on people’s doors trying to get information about Nicola out of them. I will not let it happen.’
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