Local Saw Hooded Men Trying To Hide Faces Near Nicola Bulley Route

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The local said the pair were carrying fishing rods and appeared to be wearing hats or hoods, which obscured their faces.

He added: “It was very strange. It made me uneasy.”

The man, who does not want to be named, contacted police but claimed they took nine days to get back to him and take his statement.

Mum of two Nicola, 45, disappeared near a river in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancs, on January 27, leaving her phone on a bench and her dog Willow nearby.

Police believe she has been swept away, but her partner Paul Ansell, friends and family do not agree.

Yesterday, as the search operation for the mortgage adviser continued, they turned their social media ­yellow — a symbol of hope — and tied yellow ribbons on a footbridge as they begged for her return.

The witness said: “I first saw the men at around 7.45am on my way to work on Thursday, the day before Nicola Bulley vanished. I drive that way every day, so know the road well. I saw two men wearing dark clothing and hoods or hats and ­carrying fishing rods. They could have been just two normal fishermen — and if I had seen their faces I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it. But I remembered that 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.

“At first I thought they must be poachers. 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 men, this time closer to the bridge.

He recalled: “It was around the same time, 7.45am. This time it was just a glimpse, but I definitely saw one of them. I think I saw the second man, who was way ahead of the other, but I have been going over it a lot in my mind and I couldn’t swear my life on it. Again, the man I saw was carrying a fishing rod and covering his face.”

The witness said the men did not seem to have a tackle or bait box, which he found odd.

He went on: “I was away all that weekend so only heard about Nicola Bulley going missing on Sunday I saw the police were appealing for information and it struck me that I should tell them what I saw, so I rang them on Monday.”

The witness said no one called him back so he followed up on Friday. He called again on Monday, a week after his first call.

He said: “I couldn’t understand it — there’s a woman missing and I’ve seen these men in the area. Why haven’t they called me? Then they called me back last Wednesday and took all the info. It’s frustrating — it would have been much better if I had been spoken to straight away as it was fresher in my mind.”

Yesterday The Sun on Sunday revealed the witness had come forward — and also that cops have been handed new CCTV from a garage covering the 24 hours before Nicola’s disappearance.

Detectives visited St Michael’s Garage in the small village on Thursday.

They had already trawled the area for footage and dashcam video. The garage security cameras cover the main road through the village. One of the pictures is the top of a country lane close to where Nicola was last seen. Nicola disappeared after dropping her two children off at school and taking Willow for a walk along the river.

She was last seen in a field along the River Wyre at 9.10am. The last sighting of her was at 9.10am. Around 25 minutes later her phone was found and her dog was running free.

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Mr Priceless
A young person with a passion for success and excellence to develop a professional career that encourages empowerment in the overall development of a person which is achieved through hard work. A Journalist with facts and a difference; standing by the truth all the time with interests in Science & Technology, Health, Celebrities' Lifestyle, Crimes, Education and Career Improvement.

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