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Terrified villagers where Nicola Bulley went missing hire security as visitors peep through their windows
17 February 2023, 08:23 | Updated: 17 February 2023, 09:38
Residents in the village where Nicola Bulley disappeared from have brought in external security to protect themselves because of how much interest there is.
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Visitors have been peering through their living room windows as they watch TV, "terrifying" villagers in St Michael's on the Wyre.
It comes as police and Ms Bulley's family hit out at online rumours and amateur sleuths who have been turning up and getting in the way of the investigation.
Wyre Council leader Michael Vincent told Sky News: "People have reported being sat in their living rooms in an afternoon watching television and people coming up to the windows, peering in, trying the doors, it's been terrifying for them.
"These are typically older people extremely scared in their own homes.
"The residents have had to employ an external security company, that's just not acceptable."
The family yesterday issued a statement demanding an end to speculation about Ms Bulley and her partner, Paul Ansell.
Lancashire Police also came under fire for revealing she had been struggling with menopause and alcohol, but said it had to give out the details because of the amount of misinformation that has been put out.
The family said: "It has now been three weeks since Nikki went missing. We, as a family, believe that the public focus has become distracted from finding Nikki, and more about speculation and rumours into her and Paul's private life.
"As a family, we were aware beforehand that Lancashire Police, last night, released a statement with some personal details about our Nikki.
"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 police know the truth about Nikki and now the public need to focus on finding her.
"Due to the peri menopause Nikki suffered with significant side effects such as brain fog, restless sleep and was taking HRT [hormone replacement therapy] to help but this was giving her intense headaches which caused Nikki to stop taking the HRT thinking that may have helped her but only ended up causing this crisis.
"The public focus has to be on finding her and not making up wild theories about her personal life."
But the decision to reveal information about the missing mother-of-two, who disappeared three weeks ago on the morning of January 27, has been heavily criticised.
The Home Office demanded to know why the decision to put out the information was made.
A spokesperson said: "Our thoughts are with Nicola Bulley's family at this incredibly difficult time.
"The Home Secretary and Policing Minister are receiving regular updates from Lancashire Police on its handling of this case, including why personal details about Nicola was briefed out at this stage of the investigation."
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has also confirmed that Lancashire Police has referred itself to the police watchdog over its visit to Nicola Bulley's family home on January 10.
Ms Bulley, 45, went missing on January 27 as she walked her dog on a towpath near the River Wyre in fields by the village.
Police have primarily focused on the theory entered the water near a bench where her phone was found.
But searches near the bench and downstream have not found her in that time. Mr Ansell has claimed he does not believe she is in the water.