A YouTuber who had made a series of videos detailing his “search” for missing dog walker Nicola Bulley has been arrested and fined for a public order offence.
Urban explorer Danny Duffy, from Darwen, Lancashire, uploaded a video showing the moment he was arrested while probing the area near the river bank for signs of Nicola.
Duffy, who had also live-streamed several “investigations” over TikTok, including a tense late-night confrontation with a local in St Michael’s on Wyre, spent 20 hours in a police station before being issued with a £90 fine.
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Duffy filmed the arrest and uploaded it to his YouTube channel, Exploring with Danny.
In the clip Duffy can be heard telling his 206,000 subscribers: "Hi guys, I'm being arrested on a public order offence. They've had an allegation.
"As you all know I was in search to find the missing woman, Nicola, but this is what it's turning into… no freedom of speech."
In a press conference yesterday (Wednesday, February 15), Lancashire Police ’s Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith expressed the investigating team’s frustration with amateur sleuths and self-styled “paranormal investigators” who were making their already difficult job much harder.
She said her officers had been “inundated with false information, accusations and rumours” and hit out at the “influencers” and publicity-seekers who had in come cases obstructed the investigation.
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“In 29 years in the service, I have never seen anything like it,” DS Smith said. “Some of it’s been quite shocking and really hurtful to the family. Obviously, we can’t disregard anything and we’ve reviewed everything that’s come in but of course it has distracted us significantly.”
Among the “persistent myths” that she said had been “distracting” investigators were reports about a dilapidated red van, a blue glove that had been found not far from where Nicola disappeared, and a nearby abandoned house.
One of Duffy’s videos shows him peering through the windows of the house, and various sheds and outbuildings, knocking on the door and calling out: “Hello, Nicola?”
Responding to dozens of negative comments on the videos detailing his four-day search, Duffy says “I’m here doing something good while you’re just sitting at home doing nothing [and] watching the news…”
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Duffy also has a spaniel, called Molly, that he encourages to sniff through undergrowth in hope of coming across a clue that the 40-strong team of detectives and forensic experts overlooked.
The official search, now in its 20th day, has still found no clear evidence of what happened to ash missing mum-of-two.
Police have re-stated their “working hypothesis” that Nicola fell into a river on her morning dog walk. Constant public speculation about search has forced Nicola's family into revealing new painful details about her.
Search teams will continue to look for her in the river for at least the rest of the week and possibly longer.
A search expert advising the police said that it can take up to 100 days to find a body in a river and, in some rare cases, bodies are never found.
Yesterday police revealed that Nicola had been a "high-risk missing person" with "specific vulnerabilities" before later adding that she had "significant issues with alcohol".
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