UK

Police searching for missing mum of two Nicola Bulley have recovered a body from the river near to where she went missing.

“We were called today at 11.36am to reports of a body in the River Wyre, close to Rawcliffe Road,” Lancashire Police said in a statement.

“An underwater search team and specialist officers have subsequently attended the scene, entered the water and have sadly recovered a body.

“No formal identification has yet been carried out, so we are unable to say whether this is Nicola Bulley at this time.

“Procedures to identify the body are ongoing. We are currently treating the death as unexplained.

“Nicola’s family have been informed of developments and our thoughts are with them at this most difficult of times. We ask that their privacy is respected.”

Earlier, a road was cordoned off along the river in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, as was a footpath.

The search site is about a mile from where Ms Bulley was lasted spotted.

A police helicopter hovered above the area for about 25 minutes and a drone was used, too.

Sky News correspondent Inzamam Rashid said a white forensic tent had been erected.

“There is a significant police presence at one section of the river,” Rashid said.

The senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith, was among them, he added.

The area has been the focus of an intensive search operation since Ms Bulley, 45, was last seen at about 9.10am on 27 January while walking her dog.

Officers have said their main working hypothesis is that the mother-of-two fell into the river, but her friends and family claimed there was “no evidence whatsoever” to support that theory.

Concerns have been expressed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman about the release of personal information about Ms Bulley.

Police said she had suffered “significant issues with alcohol” which had been brought on by “ongoing struggles with the menopause”.

But Ms Bulley’s family said they were “aware beforehand that Lancashire Police released a statement with some personal details about our Nikki”.

They said: “Although we know that Nikki would not have wanted this, there are people out there speculating and threatening to sell stories about her. This is appalling and needs to stop.

“The public focus has to be on finding her and not making up wild theories about her personal life.”

Lancashire Police have confirmed that a date has been set for an internal review of the investigation.

A police spokeswoman said: “A review of the investigation is diarised and will be conducted by our head of crime, Detective Chief Superintendent Pauline Stables.”

The dog walker who found Nicola Bulley’s phone on a bench told Sky News he thought “this is not right” when he saw the device on the morning of her disappearance.

The man, who gave his name as Ron, also said he saw the wallpaper on the phone showing Ms Bulley and her partner, Paul Ansell, before police were called and she was reported missing.

He said he had given a full statement to the police.

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