Lancashire Police turned down extra help in the case of Nicola Bulley in what has been branded a ‘strange’ move, it has been reported.
Other forces and search and rescue organisations offered to deploy resources to aid the search for the missing mum-of-two.
But detectives said the ‘relevant areas’ had been searched and no further help was needed.
Her body was eventually found – more than three weeks after Nicola vanished – in the River Wyre, in St Michael’s on Wyre, near to where she was last seen.
But it was dog walkers who discovered her body – not the police – and some have questioned how the body was missed for 23 days despite the extensive searches.
A search and rescue source told the Sun the force’s decision to refuse assistance was ‘inexcusable’ and ‘bizarre’.
They stressed: ‘It is completely strange to decline free resources. There could have been hundreds of trained people helping.
‘Search people should have found her body – and it should have been dignified.’
Detectives’ main working hypothesis was that Nicola had fallen into the river after dropping her dog’s ball.
For weeks, divers, helicopters, boats, sonar equipment and sniffer dogs searched the area in the village, and the force insisted their search had been thorough and exhaustive.
Lowland Rescue, which boasts 36 teams and 1,800 qualified volunteers, offered to send everything they had to assist as the search entered its third week.
But an emailed reply from Lancashire’s assistant chief constable Peter Lawson read: ‘Many thanks for your message and offer of support.
‘It has been genuinely heart-warming to receive the offers we have from across both the policing family and UK Search and Rescue organisations.
‘Land searches were conducted in the initial stages of the search – before there was any real media interest, so largely unreported.
‘These searches include police officers, mountain rescue, search dogs and the fire service.’
He said there were no plans for further land searches as ‘we are satisfied we have cleared the relevant areas with appropriate resources’.
Pressure is now mounting for an urgent inquiry into the force’s handling of the case.
Widespread criticism about the disclosure of Nicola’s alcohol dependency and menopausal issues is also still looming over their head.
Metro.co.uk has contacted Lancashire Police for a comment.
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