NICOLA Bulley police confirmed they are hunting the owner of a red van seen in the area when the mum vanished.
Lancashire Police began investigating reports of the “shabby and suspicious” red van after two witnesses came forward.
But officers said today there is "nothing to suggest" the sighting is any different to the other cars seen on January 27 when Nicola disappeared.
The force said: "We are aware of reports in the media about a red van being reported to us and we would like to stress that while this has been reported to us and we are making efforts to identify the owner at this time there is nothing to suggest this was anything other than one of many hundreds of vehicles in the area that morning."
The vehicle was spotted close to the mum’s walking route in St Michael's on Wyre on the morning she went missing.
A man in his 50s described the van as a high-sided Renault or Transit in a faded red.
The witness said: “It was a shabby looking van, an older model, the kind you can live or work in.
“It was on a quiet lane near a barn, with a couple of houses dotted around.
“Obviously, I don’t know whether this van is related to Nicola’s disappearance. All I know is that something grabbed my attention. I felt compelled to tell police about it.
“Even though it was down the road, as the crow flies it’s quite close to where Nicola was last seen.”
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Lancashire Police also re-confirmed their theory Nicola fell in the river as her disappearance reached its 14th day.
The search for Nicola has now moved 20 miles down river to Morecambe Bay.
Two boats with specialist police teams were seen scouring the water with police suggesting finding her in the sea is becoming more of a "possibility".
The force said: "Throughout this investigation we have been keeping an open mind about what might have happened to Nicola, and we continue to look at all the potential scenarios to eliminate them. We are reviewing our decisions regularly.
"Based on all the work we have done up to now our belief remains that Nicola may have fallen into the river for some reason, but we are continuing to investigate all possible leads, and this involves viewing CCTV, Dashcam footage and speaking to people who are providing us with information.
"It remains the case that at the present time there is absolutely nothing in all the extensive enquiries we have made that suggests anything untoward has happened or that there is any third-party involvement in Nicola’s disappearance, but the investigation is ongoing."
It also emerged police are probing a two hour gap between Nicola's last sighting and when she was reported missing.
The mum was last seen walking Willow along the River Wyre at around 9.10am.
But the first call did not come in until 11am – meaning there is a two hour window before officers started looking for her.
The search could also have been hindered by three CCTV blindspots in the area where Nicola vanished.
Police have admitted she could have left via a path not covered by cameras as they keep an "open mind" regarding her disappearance.
It comes after Nicola's partner Paul Ansell has now told Channel 5's Dan Walker that "something happened that day" as people do just "vanish into thin air".
He also spoke of his torment at her disappearance two weeks after she was last seen.
In a preview ahead of tonight's show Vanished: What happened to Nicola Bulley? at 9pm, Paul said: "It just doesn’t feel real. I feel like I’m in the Truman show.
"Like, I honestly believe I’m going to wake up at any moment…how are we even in this? We are good people.”
Paul also said he feels "anger, loads of frustration, confusion, disbelief, surrealism" as the family goes through "unprecedented hell".
He told how he is "100 per cent convinced" Nicola is not in the river as police believe.
Nicola has been described as white, 5ft 3ins tall with light-brown shoulder-length hair.
She was last seen wearing an ankle-length black quilted gilet jacket with a black Engelbert Strauss waist-length coat underneath and black tight-fitting jeans.
She had long green walking socks tucked into her jeans, ankle-length green Next wellies, a necklace and a pale blue Fitbit on.
Nicola has an Essex accent and links to the Thornton-Cleveleys area near Blackpool.
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Anybody with information about where she might be is asked to call 101, quoting log 473 of January 27, or ring 999 for immediate sightings.
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