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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ryan Merrifield

Missing dog walker Nicola Bulley seen celebrating birthday in heartbreaking new photo

A photo showing missing mum Nicola Bulley celebrating her birthday before she disappeared has emerged.

The 45-year-old took springer spaniel Willow for a walk after dropping her two young children at school in St Michaels on Wyre, Lancashire, on January 27.

Her phone was later found on a bench overlooking the river, with the dog wandering alone nearby.

A major police search was launched with investigators working on the main hypothesis that mortgage broker Nicola accidentally fell in the water.

However, they admit there is no substantial evidence to conclude what happened - and extensive searches of the river have found no trace of her.

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Nicola Bulley is seen celebrating her 45th birthday in October last year (Facebook)
Nicola disappeared on January 27 (Lancashire Police / SWNS)

But on what is the 14th day since Nicola went missing, a photo of her smiling and holding up a pink balloon saying "happy birthday" has surfaced.

In the photo, which she shared on social media, she is surrounded by gifts, cards and a cake.

She thanked everyone who gave her "love", adding that she'd had a busy day at work but was happy to relax with a "cheeky birthday prosecco".

Police officers in St Michael's on Wyre (PA)

Nicola turned 45 in October.

She wrote on her business page Nicola Bulley - Mortagage Adviser: "It’s been a busy work day today and it’s my birthday!

"Thank you to everyone that has sent me birthday wishes, gifts and cards! I’m feeling the love."

Nicola thanked estate agents Love Homes for the "lovely gift", which included a box of bath bombs and body wash.

Nicola's partner Paul Ansell at the search scene with underwater expert Peter Faulding (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

A specialist underwater forensics firm yesterday pulled out of the search after being pictured at the scene with Nicola's partner Paul Ansell.

Search Group International (SGI) said he is "100 percent" sure Nicola is not in the stretch of river initially suspected.

Police have been forced to warn members of the public from taking law into their own hands when getting involved in the search, with a group last night understood to have been given a dispersal order.

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