Calls for respect after people 'take selfies with bench' where Nicola Bulley's phone was found

The mother's phone, dog harness and lead were found on a bench next to the river Wyre. Credit: PA images

People are travelling for miles to 'take selfies' on the bench where missing Nicola Bulley's phone was found, it has been claimed.

The mother-of-two disappeared while walking her springer spaniel, Willow, on Friday 27 January in St Michael’s on Wyre in Lancashire.

Her mobile phone, dog's lead and harness were found on a bench on the banks of the river Wyre by another dog walker at around 9:35am. The alert was raised shortly after.

Since Ms Bulley, 45, vanished, missing person posters have been put up on almost every railing and lamppost in the village as search teams desperately try to find her.

There's reports that people have been taking selfies with missing posters in the area where Nicola Bulley disappeared. Credit: PA imageas

Following her disappearance, visitors have reportedly travelled from as far afield as Lancaster and Manchester, with some reportedly posing for selfies with posters, as well as with the bench on the river bank.

Chairman of St Michael’s Parish Council, Giles Phillips, condemned those taking pictures and said "it is not a spectator sport".

He said: "It would be helpful if people could let the authorities do their jobs. We don’t want anyone to hinder the investigation. This is not a spectator sport.

"Most of the area is private land - the public access is very minimal and can’t absorb the numbers of people who are coming every day.

"They aren’t searching for somebody - they are watching someone else search for somebody. We would rather people stayed home or took a day trip to the Lake District."

Superintendent Sally Riley has urged people to not speculate as to what may have happened to Nicola and to "not take law into their own hands"

Lancashire Police have warned it 'will not tolerate' people committing criminal offences by breaking into empty or derelict riverside properties to try to find the missing mother.

Detectives warned members of the public not to 'take the law into their own hands' and not to direct online abuse at people connected to the investigation.

Superintendent Sally Riley said: “We will not tolerate online abuse of anyone, including innocent witnesses, members of the family and friends, of local businesses, or of criminal damage or burglary. We will be taking a strong line on that, as you would expect.”

“There are some properties along the riverside which are empty or derelict. It may be well intentioned that people think that that could be a line of inquiry, I would ask them to desist from doing that.

"In some cases it may be criminal if they are breaking in and causing damage or committing a burglary."

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