Nicola Bulley cops hunt key witness as missing mum’s family say they are ‘worried beyond words’ | The Sun

POLICE today revealed they are searching for a man seen in the area where a missing mum vanished five days ago.

Nicola Bulley, 45, was last seen in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, at around 9.15am on Friday.

Mystery surrounds her disappearance after her mobile phone was found nearby still connected to a work conference call.

Nicola's pet springer spaniel Willow was also discovered – with no trace still of the missing mum.

Lancashire Police today said they are looking for a "potentially key witness" to come forward.

They said the man was in the area at the time Nicola went missing and has been described as aged around 70, white, 6ft tall and well-built.

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He was walking a small white fluffy dog on a lead and spoke to a woman in the area before walking in the direction of Rowanwater.

The force said: "If this is you, or if you know who this could be, please get in touch."

Her family also spoke of their heartache at her disappearance as the search enters its fifth day.

In a statement, they said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support from our community and would like to thank everyone for their ongoing efforts to help us find Nicola.

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“The girls are desperate to have their mummy back home safe with them and your ongoing efforts have provided comfort to them whilst we await news on Nicola.

“We ask for anyone who thinks they may have any Information that may help the police find Nicola to please come forward and help them with their enquiries.”

Nicola's brother-in-law Stephen Cunningham said: "The whole family, as expected, are struggling to understand what’s happened and worried beyond words.”

It comes as partner Paul Ansell revealed fresh clues into the mum's disappearance.

The engineer, 44, said his girlfriend had taken the children to school as normal then headed out on her regular morning dog walk.

He added: "I rang police after I got a call from the school regarding somebody who found Willow and Nikki's phone and the dog lead and harness on the bench.

"We take the kids to school and take the dog down there – either myself or Nikki – nearly every day."

He previously told how their daughters, aged six and nine, were desperate for their mum to come home.

Speaking at the family home in Inskip, he said: "It is just perpetual hell. Utter disbelief.

"All we can say is we need to find her. She's got two little girls that need their mummy home.

"We have got to get some good news now."

Nicola was last seen walking east along the towpath of the River Wyre at 9.15am on January 27.

Her belongings and the dog were discovered some way along the route towards Wyreside Farm Caravan Park.

Nicola's employer, Exclusively Mortgages, said she had logged on to the team meeting at 9.01am.

An extensive search was launched to find the mum-of-two, involving police, firefighters, mountain rescue, underwater teams and the local community.

Officers are continuing to scour wooded areas, ditches, water margins and the grounds of an abandoned house.

Lancashire Police said they were treating the case as a missing person investigation but were keeping an open mind.

Supt Sally Riley said Nicola's disappearance is not a "crime inquiry" and says there is nothing to suggest the dog walker was attacked.

She added: "People do go missing but clearly as time goes on, we become more and more concerned for Nicola.

"But we're very much hoping we will find something to try to bring her home safe and well soon."

Nicola has been described as white, 5ft 3ins tall with light-brown shoulder-length hair

She was last seen wearing a long black gilet jacket with a hood, black jeans and olive green ankle wellies with her hair in a ponytail.

Nicola has an Essex accent and links to the Thornton-Cleveleys area near Blackpool.

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Anybody who has seen her, or has information about where she might be, is asked to call 101, quoting log 473 of January 27.

The force said to call 999 to report immediate sightings.

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