A SALTCOATS man is stranded in the Philippines after falling for what he called a scam.

Robert Gray, known as Bobby, travelled to the Southeast Asian country in 2018 hoping to make a new life for himself.

He took his pension out in a lump sum, left his council house and packed his bags.

But, he said, things were not what they seemed and what was supposed to be ‘hunky dory’ became a nightmare.

The 63-year-old told the Herald how his relationship broke down once his pension pot ran out and he found himself out on the street.

He said: “I was abandoned like a dying dog.”

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

Robert has been surviving by begging and said all he has is a Kilmarnock football top, a pair of trousers and his passport.

People that know him from the Three Towns are eager to help bring Robert home but are worried that any money they send to him may disappear.

Bobby Crozier, who knows Robert from travelling to football games together, has kept in contact with him.

He said: “I would never send money to that place. He is vulnerable and weak, people would take advantage of him.”

Bobby said that Robert looked like a prisoner of war.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

Photos from 2018 and last week show how Robert’s physical appearance has changed dramatically.

He said he had gone from having a ‘good build’ to weighing just 8 stone.

He told the Herald he had thought of taking his own life out of desperation.

A landlord allows Robert to sleep in a bedsit between 9pm and 9am and he spends his days on the streets of Manila, the country’s capital city.

The Philippines suffers from widespread corruption, according to a global study.

German based non-governmental not-for-profit Transparency International collates the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

Last year, the Philippines scored 34 out of 100 in terms of perceived levels of public sector corruption.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Robert Gray in 2018Robert Gray in 2018

Councillor Jim Montgomerie wants to help bring Robert home to the Three Towns.

He told the Herald he would consider travelling out there to bring Robert back himself if it were possible.

Currently, he is trying to work out how he can arrange travel for Robert back to Scotland with the aim of fundraising to pay for his passage.

Robert's family were unaware of his dire situation but have been overwhelmed by the help being offered to bring him home.

A family spokesperson said: "We appreciate what everybody has done for him and we knew nothing about this until we saw it on social media.

"He is a vulnerable old man, if this had not happened he could have been lying in a gutter dead.

"He will be forever in the debt to the Three Towns and everyone that has helped.

"He owes you his life, it's as simple as that."

Robert told the Herald he had sought help from the British Embassy but because he has been living in the country for so long they could not bring him home.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Spokesperson said: “We are providing assistance to a British man in the Philippines.”