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A man and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of malicious communications offences after members of Wyre Council were allegedly sent offensive messages. Lancashire Police said a number of malicious messages were sent to the council which covers St Michael’s on Wyre near where Nicola Bulley went missing.
The force said in a statement it had received reports at the weekend of a number of malicious messages having been sent to Wyre Council members.
Its enquiries have now led to the arrest of a 49-year-old man from Manchester on suspicion of malicious communications offences.
He has since been released on bail, pending further enquiries until May 12.
A 20-year-old woman from Oldham has also been arrested on suspicion of malicious communications offences and she remains in police custody. Enquiries are ongoing.
Wyre Council said on Monday it had temporarily removed contact details for “parish and town council members”.
Council leader Michael Vincent said: “We appreciate the emotional gravity of the situation… The community has shown great strength and resilience during the investigation and we urge everyone to continue to show compassion and empathy.
“It is a shame we have had to take this step at such a difficult time and appropriate steps are being taken to ensure residents are still able to contact their elected representatives.”
The council added: “Wyre Council will log any reports of abuse and these will be forwarded to the police. Please be respectful.”
Wyre Council’s Chief Executive Garry Payne said: “Everyone is deeply saddened by the ongoing Nicola Bulley case and our thoughts are with the family and friends.
“We are supporting Lancashire Police where required and we urge everyone to remain respectful at this time.”
Ms Bulley, 45, vanished while walking her springer spaniel Willow near the River Wyre, shortly after dropping her daughters off at school.
The mortgage adviser’s phone was found on a bench overlooking the river, still connected to a work call.
Police believe Ms Bulley may have “have fallen into the river for some reason”.
They have been searching from the river where she vanished to the sea.
The search in Morecambe Bay is in its fifth day with officers on horseback having surveyed elevated paths in the village of Knott End-on-Sea on Monday.
Police extended the search for Ms Bulley’s body to the sea on Thursday after detectives said finding her “in the open sea becomes more of a possibility”.
Well-wishers on Monday continued to leave hand-written “messages of hope” that the mum-of-two will be found unharmed.
The messages, which first appeared on flower-shaped ribbons on Sunday, have been written on yellow ribbons on a bridge over the River Wyre.
Recent messages read, “Hope is the last thing ever lost” and “Nikki, I love you, come home”.
Others reading, “We need you home Nicola”, “Praying for your safe return” and “I love you” were found tied to the bridge on Sunday.
A large poster with a photograph of Ms Bulley has also been attached to railings.
Lancashire Constabulary believes she fell into the river Wyre “in a 10-minute window”.
Ms Bulley had logged into a Microsoft Teams call at 9.01am, which ended at 9.30am with her phone still connected to the call.
She was seen by another dog walker at 9.10am – the last known sighting – and police traced telephony records of her mobile phone as it remained on a bench overlooking the river at 9.20am.
The device was found by a dog walker at around 9.35am, with Willow nearby.
The force says it does not think Ms Bulley came to any harm.
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