Nicola Bulley: Police looking at 500 active pieces of information in search – but say nothing ‘of note’ yet | UK News
Detectives say they are looking at 500 active pieces of information in the search for mother-of-two Nicola Bulley – and have not found “anything of note” yet.
Lancashire Police remains “fully open-minded” and have not yet detected a “suspicious element”, said Superintendent Sally Riley.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, she said her officers had conducted an “unprecedented” number of inquiries.
Supt Riley also said the force had a team of up to 40 detectives working daily to comb through the “enormous” amount of information gathered so far.
This includes information from door-to-door inquiries, calls from the public, CCTV and dashcam, and data from Ms Bulley’s mobile phone and Fitbit device.
Police have also identified 700 vehicles which were in the area on the morning Ms Bulley disappeared and are in the process of contacting the drivers to request any dashcam footage they may have.
Supt Riley said Coastguard and mountain rescue teams were assisting in the search, while the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) were also helping the police with their inquiries.
“This is normal in a missing person inquiry and does not indicate that there is any suspicious element to this story,” Supt Riley said.
“The enquiry team remains fully open-minded to any information that may indicate where Nicola is or what happened to her.
“Any information that comes in that indicates otherwise is being checked out all the time and negated as each inquiry comes up.
“We are not closed in any way to any particular line of inquiry.”
Supt Riley added: “All of these extensive enquiries however have so far not found anything of note.”
Six specially trained officers are searching the River Wyre, near to the village of St Michael’s on Wyre, where Ms Bulley went missing on 27 January while walking her dog.
Detectives say their “main working hypothesis” is that the 45-year-old fell into the river and Supt Riley reiterated on Tuesday that this remained the force’s belief at this time.
But Ms Bulley’s family and friends have previously claimed there is “no evidence whatsoever” behind this.
Specialist teams, including a private company with underwater sonar equipment, are carrying out comprehensive searches over the river, but they are yet to find Ms Bulley.
Earlier, a friend of Ms Bulley said it “may be time to start looking down other avenues” if search teams looking in the River Wyre cannot find her.
Read: What were missing Nicola Bulley’s movements before she disappeared?
Family friend Heather Gibbons said: “I think it’s incredibly hard, but up to a certain level, we understand it’s human nature, it’s natural for everyone to have speculation, because the truth is in this, nothing is making sense.
“The truth is if we look at it factually, no one knows until we have some evidence.
“I know that the family are massively appreciative of all the police have done.
“As family and friends, the way we are looking at it is, we feel we have got the best of the best on that water and hopefully it will be a completion, one way or the other.
“And if they find nothing, then maybe it’s time to start looking down other avenues.”
A dive team from Specialist Group International (SGI) joined the search for Ms Bulley yesterday.
The company are using a £55,000 side-scan sonar, with a high frequency of 1,800 kilohertz, to help police carry out a comprehensive search of the river.
The team helped search part of the river on Monday, in an area around and downstream from a bench where Ms Bulley’s mobile phone was left, still connected to a work call.
On Monday night, chief executive Peter Faulding said their search, covering around “three to four miles” of the river, had shown up negative.
He said the team would search another stretch of the river, close to where detectives believe Ms Bulley fell in on Tuesday.
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Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Mr Faulding said: “I personally think, if I rule this stretch of water out where we are working today, I don’t think she is here.
“I think there’s probably a third party involved.”
Police divers previously searched the same area last week as a huge hunt continued for mortgage adviser Ms Bulley, who lived in the village of Inskip, two miles from the river.
On Monday night, Ms Bulley’s partner Paul Ansell told Sky News she “has to be found safe and well” because “I can’t put those girls to bed again with no answers”.
In a separate statement, released through Lancashire Police 10 days on from her disappearance, he also said his girls “miss their mummy desperately” and “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,” he said.