A witness has told police that on the day before her disappearance, he saw two men acting suspiciously near the route where Nicola Bulley regularly walked her dog.
The witness, who would not share his story publicly, said he saw the couple outside the church in St Michael’s on Wyre and on a nearby bridge on January 26.
An employee at a local garage said the witness gave information to police after officers asked that anyone who had been in the area around the time the mother-of-two was last seen come forward, according to The sun.
The paper reported that last Thursday police asked for footage from St Michael’s Garage covering the 24 hours before Ms Bulley disappeared.
A garage worker, who declined to be named, said: “Two smartly dressed officers followed them, a man and a woman.
“They wanted the CCTV footage from the day before Nicola disappeared and include statements of all the activity we had seen since that day.
“These officers were different from the ones in uniform, they seemed very assertive.”
The employee reportedly said they knew the witness and knew he had already gone to the police about what he saw at the local church.
“But he said he wanted to make sure they followed up on this, so I asked the officers about it and they said they followed up on it,” they added.
The employee added: “Whether they retrieve the CCTV footage from the same day, I don’t know.”
He related how the witness said that the next day he saw one of the men at the bridge, which is at the start of the footpath that Mrs Bulley used almost daily when walking her dog, Willow.
The search for Mrs Bulley enters its seventeenth day on Sunday. Lancashire Police said officers kept an “open mind” as they continued to ask for information about the incident.
Police said earlier this week they had opened 500 lines of inquiry into the case and were looking for more than 700 drivers who had been seen in the area around the time of Ms Bulley’s disappearance.
Police continue to search the River Wyre towards the sea at Morecambe Bay, working on a hypothesis that the 45-year-old, from Inskip, could have fallen in. Police have ruled out foul play and are treating the incident as a missing person inquiry.
Her partner, Paul Ansell, said he wants to keep “all options open” about her disappearance, but his “gut feeling” tells him she’s not in the river.