THE anguished dad of a missing 24-year-old man has told how his son texted, “I love you” before he vanished.

Sean McKenna, from Coatbridge, has not been seen since he left a friend’s house early on Monday morning at around 3.30am.

His father James has revealed that his son had been “low” after being diagnosed with early onset arthritis and forced to give up playing football.

James said: “We are just praying he is with someone.”

The family, who are from the Townhead area, say it is out of character for the 6ft 2in 24-year-old to be out of touch for so long and are becoming increasingly concerned for his welfare.

Read more: Fears growing for missing 24-year-old Coatbridge man

Sean’s worried girlfriend Lisa Coyle posted a picture of the couple together on Facebook and said: “Please come home.”

A police helicopter was scrambled on Tuesday night after the alarm was raised the previous evening and detectives have stepped up the hunt.

Friends of the 25-year-old also organised two searches yesterday of the town yesterday at 2pm and 6pm but so far there have been no sightings.

Sean, who works for a whisky firm on Glasgow’s London Road, was last seen by a friend after leaving his house on Derwent Drive. He sent a few texts to friends and family and made some calls but the last contact was at around 5am.

James, who has three other children, said: “He was with his friend David and left his house at about 3.30am.

“After that he came to our house but we were all asleep and then he went back out.

“He sent us a text at 4.55am saying “I love you” and that was it. Nobody has heard from him.

“He made a few phone calls and his last phone call was at 5am.

“It’s strange because there has been absolutely no contact. If he stays out he always posts something on Facebook.

“He was feeling a bit low because he had been diagnosed with arthritis and had to stop playing football.

“The community have been absolutely brilliant. They have organised searches.

Read more: Fears growing for missing 24-year-old Coatbridge man

“It’s horrendous. We are just praying he is with someone.”

A police spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that James was reported missing to police on the evening of Monday 10 October 2016 and enquiries are being carried out by officers to trace him.”

When Sean was last seen he is thought to have been wearing black tracksuit bottoms a dark jumper and black boots.

He is 6ft 2inches tall and of medium build with a tanned complexion.

Anyone with information should call the police non-emergency number 101.