Friends gather for roadside appeal two weeks after Nicola Bulley vanished

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Friends of missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley have gathered for another roadside appeal two weeks on from her disappearance.

Members of the local community have been standing by the road in the Lancashire village of St Michael’s on Wyre with banners and placards featuring her photograph, in a plea to “bring Nikki home”.

Police believe the 45-year-old fell in the River Wyre while walking her springer spaniel Willow on January 27.

Friend Emma White told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday: “The local community are coming out again today to just raise that profile, trying to jog anybody’s memory, dashcam footage of Garstang Road, which is just outside of the village of St Michael’s on Wyre, just by the bridge that you go over.

Nicola Bulley missing
Police search teams at the River Wyre (Peter Byrne/PA)

“We’re out with banners, we’ve got placards of Nikki’s face, we’ve got a moving eight-foot LED board with her face on it with the message ‘Bring Nikki home’.

“We just need Nikki home for her two beautiful little girls who need their mummy.”

The focus of the police search has now shifted from where Ms Bulley vanished to further downstream, towards where the River Wyre empties into the Irish Sea at Morecambe Bay.

A dinghy with two officers on board could be seen on the water on Thursday, while an orange rescue boat was also spotted appearing to do sweeps of the river off Knott End-on-Sea, at the mouth of the bay, around 10 miles from where the mortgage adviser’s phone was found on a bench, still connected to a work call.

Ms White said the search had been “like torture”.

She told the Today programme: “It is just a rollercoaster, it is almost like torture — the despair, the unimaginable frustration in the sense that everyone has come together, working so hard: the police, the community, people on the ground.

Nicola Bulley missing
Paul Ansell, partner of Nicola Bulley, visiting the River Wyre (PA Video/PA)

Lancashire Police have dismissed any suggestion Ms Bulley is a victim of crime and say the scale of the missing person inquiry is “unprecedented”, involving 40 detectives and following 500 lines of inquiry.

Multiple searches of the “hot-spot” area near the bench, the suspected “entry point” of where Ms Bulley went into the water, have been conducted by police divers and underwater search experts.

Ms Bulley’s family called in help from Peter Faulding, of Specialist Group International, but after a three-day search earlier this week, no trace of Ms Bulley was found.

Mr Faulding said his searches confirmed Ms Bulley was not in the section of river searched by his team and police divers, but described himself as “baffled” after ending his fruitless search.

Ms Bulley’s partner Paul Ansell has described the “perpetual hell” the family is suffering as they await news, with her daughters asking: “Where’s mummy?”

The order will remain in place for 48 hours and gives officers the power to disperse anyone committing anti-social behaviour.

Officers had previously warned members of the public not to “take the law into their own hands” by breaking into empty or derelict riverside properties to try to find Ms Bulley.

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