FIVE people on Cumbrae have been treated for hypothermia after the cost of living crisis left them unable to heat their homes.

A source close to the ambulance service told the News that soaring fuel costs had left many people on the island frightened to run fires and boilers.

The paramedic told them that there were 'at least' five people on the island who had been treated recently for the effects of hypothermia.

The said: "It is utterly heartbreaking to hear these kind of stories.

"This is a tight-knit community people and it is hard to hear that people are falling seriously ill can't afford to turn their heating on."

Conservative councillor Tom Marshall said: "Unfortunately there has been reports of things like this all over the country, so it doesn't particularly surprise me.

"The only power source in Cumbrae is electricity, which is terribly expensive.

"It is reflective of the poverty on the island."

SNP Cllr Alan Hill said: “Millport residents have to rely almost exclusively on electricity for their power needs as there is no direct gas supply to the island. This exacerbates the cost of living crisis for those affected.

"Our council islands team was successful in obtaining some funding to assist with cost of living measures on the island and we will be holding a series of public drop-in sessions to see what we can do to help local people in difficulty."

Ambulances were called out to 800 people across Scotland found to be suffering from hypothermia when the temperature plummeted in December.

Figures from the Scottish Ambulance Service showed that about 44 people a day were taken to hospital between 1 and 18 December.

During that period temperatures took a plunge to minus double digits in some areas while households faced escalating energy costs.

Charity Age Scotland said this was a "recipe for disaster" for older people.

The News has submitted a freedom on information request after the NHS said it was unable to give statistics in relation to the Millport situation.

The NHS added that concerned members of the community should visit or