NICOLA Bulley’s family are growing increasingly frustrated at the police probe as they seek answers to her disappearance.
Partner Paul Ansell remains certain she did not drown but is braced for any outcome, a search expert said yesterday.
5Paul Ansell is reported to have said that police have not searched for Nicola Bulley ‘thoroughly’ enoughCredit: Channel 55Mum-of-two Nicola was last seen on January 27 on a riverbank in St Michael’s on Wyre at around 9.10amCredit: instagramPolice believe Nicola, 45, was swept away by the River Wyre as she walked her dog after dropping her two daughters off at school on Friday January 27.
Peter Faulding, who made the comments, led a three-day dive search for Nicola last week and liaised with the dad who has been “ripping himself to pieces”.
But diver Peter Faulding said the family are beginning to lose faith with cops and want more checks in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancs.
He told The Sun: “Paul’s just frustrated. Obviously, he’s ripping himself to pieces at the moment.
“He’s devastated and struggling to get answers. That’s the problem.
“He just wants some form of closure I think, one way or the other, and he’s gearing himself up for any outcome.
“Without concrete evidence, there needs to be a search and that includes the surrounding areas, not just the river. That has to be on the first day of the case.
“I’m not saying it hasn’t been done, but it needs to be extremely thoroughly searched.”
Yesterday Nicola’s sister Louise Cunningham and her in-laws read messages and viewed yellow ribbons tied to a bridge over the Wyre.
Some said: “Hope is the last thing ever lost” and “Nikki, I love you, come home”.
Friends also changed Facebook profile pictures to the same snap of the Bulley family with the border Bring Nikki Home.
Nicola’s friend Emma White said: “Thank you for all the kind words, prayers and thoughts. The search is still ongoing for that vital piece of information to find Nikki.
“What we do have is love and strength driven from the hope, please share the love and #BringNikkiHome — turning Facebook yellow.”
It also emerged yesterday that officers have only just approached the local fishing club to find out who was on the riverbank that day.
The Sun told on Monday how a witness saw two men with fishing rods acting suspiciously on Nicola’s dog-walking route.
Officers are finding out how many, if any, fishermen were issued with tickets to be on the river.
It raises disturbing questions over whether even the basic checks were done during the hour in the wake of Nicola’s disappearance.
5Nicola with partner Paul Ansell5Yellow ribbons adorn the bridge at St Michael’s, where villagers are longing for Nicola’s returnCredit: PAA fisherman said: “I heard the police were asking about day-ticket sales, what stretches of water the club owns and leases, how many members were fishing that day.
“Sounds like they are trying to work out if anyone was fishing on the river that day and saw something, but nobody was.
“The only people by the river that day were dog walkers.”
He said officers had contacted him a day after Nicola vanished but only to ask how deep the water was where she was last seen.
Sources said cops were wedded to the theory that Nicola fell into the river and drowned and refused to consider third-party involvement.
The angling club has stopped fishing on the river since the disappearance as a mark of respect.
Anglers will only be allowed to buy tickets again after the police have finished their search.
Police contacted the fishing club just hours after The Sun revealed two men carrying rods were seen acting suspiciously close to where Nicola was last seen.
A witness told how the pair were trying to hide their faces, adding: “It was very strange. It made me uneasy. They could have been normal fishermen — and if I had seen their faces I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it.
“But I remembered they seemed to want to hide their faces, which struck me as odd
“It wasn’t particularly cold that day. It was quite mild, so their behaviour, to me, seemed strange.
“You do get poachers on the river, and they don’t want to be seen. Obviously at that moment a woman hadn’t gone missing so I didn’t think anything more of it.”
The following day, the witness said he was driving through the village again and spotted one of the two men, this time closer to the bridge.
The witness, who did not want to be named, contacted police but claimed they took nine days to get back to him and take his statement.
On Monday police were seen combing a caravan park for clues.
Diving teams were also exploring a new section of river.
Lancashire Police declined to comment.
5Peter Faulding led a three-day dive search for Nicola last weekCredit: PA
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk