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Specialist Group International leader Peter Faulding declared he had been “determined” to find Nicola but that he and her partner Paul Ansell, 44, were “relieved” that he hadn’t. Paul was sighted on Wednesday morning in the vicinity of the Lancashire village of St. Michael’s on Wyre, where Nicola was last seen, as Mr Faulding informed the worried father that “she’s not here” after a third protracted day of looking. 

Mr Faulding said he was “baffled” after failing to find the mortgage advisor who vanished on January 27, after dropping her two daughters – aged six and nine – at school, then taking her springer spaniel Willow for a walk along the river.

Ms Bulley’s phone was left on the bench near the river, still connected to a work call, with the dog lead and harness close by.

Mr Faulding and his team, from rescue operation Specialist Group International, have been searching the area around the bench, the “entry point” where it is believed by police Ms Bulley fell in the water.

But on the third day of his search, Mr Faulding said efforts had proved “negative”.

Read More: Nicola Bulley’s partner seen with diver as images show underwater tech

He said that after checking one tiny portion of the river later on Wednesday, his team’s role in the search would be ended.

Divers from the Coastguard and Lancashire Police’s search teams are now concentrating on the roughly 10-mile stretch of river downstream of the bench where the River Wyre flows into the sea at Morecambe Bay.

Lancashire Police Superintendent Sally Riley referred to the search as “unprecedented,” noting that 40 detectives pursued 500 different lines of inquiry while receiving tens of thousands of tips from the general public.

Additionally, police were looking for dashcam footage from 700 vehicles that passed through the village on the morning Ms Bulley vanished.



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