Beach piano man faces court battle

Ben Treuhaft manoeuvres his new piano into his Porty beach tent. Picture: HEMEDIA
Ben Treuhaft manoeuvres his new piano into his Porty beach tent. Picture: HEMEDIA
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COURT papers are to be served on an eccentric beach-dwelling piano tuner – after he abandoned a second keyboard on Edinburgh’s sea front.

Ben Treuhaft plonked a automatic pianorola beside his conventional piano at his makeshift camp on Porbobello beach.

But the move has failed to tinkle the ivories of bigwigs at City Chambers - who have now turned to the courts to get his tent removed once and for all.

Music-mad Ben, 66, made the headlines when he set up on the sand with his trusty old piano after a row with his 39 year-old wife last month.

Council officials threatened him with eviction but the piano tuner has vowed not to move his instruments and said it is “an escalation of the piano war”.

He said: “The council escalated the situation by threatening me with a notice of eviction, so my response is to put a bigger piano on the beach.

“I’m selling the old piano for £3.99. The new one is a 600-pound pianola – it’s much wider and heavier and will be harder to move. The movers barely got the sucker into the tent. I’m going to fight the ­eviction notice. The piano needs to stay because the ­people of Portobello love it.”

American-born Ben, a father-of-two, left his family home in Morningside and moved to the seaside following an argument with his wife. He honed his music skills in New York and spent some time in Japan before moving to Edinburgh where he opened a piano shop last year.

Edinburgh City Council say his tent breaches management rules which prohibit camping within one mile of a public road. They are now pursuing action through the courts with a notice of intent to evict.

Ben said: “I’m going to take legal advice. They are giving me half a week before they serve me with an eviction notice. Once they do it, I will have 48 hours to move the tent.

“It’s a good thing for Portobello, because people can use it as a shelter and play music. I’m trying to get the community to support me so we can keep playing the piano.”

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com