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13th Feb 2023

Nicola Bulley search expert hunts for burial sites as cops make ‘worst mistake’

Steve Hopkins

‘We’ve got to consider all options here, there has been that report of suspicious people hanging around’

A forensic expert who combed the River Wyre for Nicola Bulley has rejoined the search and is now focusing on “deposition sites” near the spot she went missing.

Nicola was last seen walking her cocker spaniel along the River Wyre, Lancashire, at 9.10am on January 27, having earlier dropped her daughters, aged six and nine, at school. Lancashire Police’s “main working hypothesis” is that she accidentally fell into the river, but no trace has been found of her.

Peter Faulding’s Specialist Group International team joined the search for three days last week, but quit the search on Wednesday, concluding that Nicola was not where police believe she is.

He has now launched his own “low-key” search and reportedly spoken to Nicola’s family about “deposition sites” – a term referring to a place where someone has been buried.

Faulding told the Express: “I’m talking to the family and obviously have vast experience finding buried bodies. We’ve got to consider all options here, there has been that report of suspicious people hanging around.

“I was frank with Paul and Heather the other day because we need to consider possible deposition sites, we don’t know. I’m not saying the police aren’t doing that and what I don’t want to do is interfere with the police operation.

“Mine (investigation) will be low key, I will just be looking around for possible deposition sites.” Police are continuing trawl the River Wyre towards the sea at Morecambe Bay, working on one hypothesis that Ms Bulley could have fallen in.”

Faulding earlier told the Daily Mail that the “worst mistake” police had made was to declare early on that Nicola had fallen into the river rather than saying “let’s keep lines of enquiry open”. A top detective echoed the same sentiment in an article in wrote for The Times on Sunday.

On Sunday, the 45-year-old’s friends and family, including her partner Paul Ansell, left yellow ribbons with handwritten messages on a bridge close to where she disappeared, and changed their Facebook profile pictures to one calling for information about Nicola.

The Facebook campaign comes after a witness came forward saying they saw two men acting suspiciously close to where Nicola went missing. Police are said to have taken further CCTV footage from a garage close to the spot where Nicola was last seen in St Michael’s on Wyre.

The reports also comes as police stepped up their hunt following reports of a “shabby” red van seen near where she went missing.

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