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Police divers check river in search for missing dog walker Nicola Bulley

The mother-of-two had been walking her dog, Willow, when she disappeared.

Nicola Bulley missing

Police divers are searching a river as the hunt for missing dog walker Nicola Bulley enters a seventh day.

Officers from the North West Police Underwater and Marine support unit brought equipment to the banks of the River Wyre, close to a bench where the mobile phone of Ms Bulley, 45, was found last Friday morning in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire.

The mother-of-two had been walking her springer spaniel dog, Willow, along the river, leaving the phone, dog leash and harness on the bench and was reportedly on a work call when she vanished.

Flowers left on the bench included a hand-written message: “My thoughts and prayers go out to your family and Willow. Love a fellow dog walker.”

Nicola Bulley missing
A message was left with a bunch of flowers on the banks of the River Wyre (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ms Bulley, a mortgage adviser, was last seen near the river at around 9.20am last Friday morning, after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, at the school in the village.

The dog running loose alerted a member of the public and police were called but, despite a huge search, no trace of Ms Bulley has been found.

On Thursday, police divers disappeared under the water, making sweeps of the breadth of the river as more officers with underwater search equipment arrived, while a sizeable gathering of reporters and photographers watched.

Sniffer dogs, drones and a police helicopter have also been used in the search of the river which cuts through farmland.

Nicola Bulley missing
Specialist search teams from Lancashire Police are looking for any trace of Nicola Bulley (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ms Bulley’s parents, Ernest and Dot Bulley, spoke of hearing their grandchildren “sobbing their hearts out” after being told “mummy is lost”.

Mr Bulley, 73, and Mrs Bulley, 72, said their daughter was in good spirits and her disappearance was totally out of character.

Mr Bulley told the Daily Mirror: “There was no sign of a slip or falling in, so our thought was ‘has somebody got her?’

“I asked the sergeant from Fleetwood a few days ago, ‘Is there any chance of her being taken?’ and she said, ‘I don’t think that’s the case’.

Nicola Bulley missing
Ms Bulley, 45, went missing while walking her dog (Lancashire Police/PA)

“I said, ‘How can you know that?’ It’s such an isolated area, the only way that has happened is if it was someone who knew her.”

Lancashire Police have said they are keeping an “open mind” about what happened but do not believe Ms Bulley was attacked.

Ms Bulley’s partner, Paul Ansell, 44, described the situation as “perpetual hell”.

In a statement, her family said: “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.”

Lancashire Police have said they do not believe any other person is involved in the disappearance and are treating the incident as a missing persons inquiry.

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