Portebello beach man moves back into tent

Ben Treuhaft appealed the court decision and can sleep on the beach for 28 days. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Ben Treuhaft appealed the court decision and can sleep on the beach for 28 days. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A MUSICIAN who set up camp on Portobello beach has moved back into his tent in protest at the council’s court action against him.

Ben Treuhaft – who caused a stir at the beach when he first moved there with his piano in March – moved from the site last month, but left the tent and its contents as a “lasting legacy” of his stay.

But since a sheriff court hearing was held about the encampment last week, he has moved back in to his unconventional abode.

Mr Treuhaft, 66, was initially given 48 hours to move his belongings off the beach – but he lodged an appeal, meaning he now has 28 days.

He said he took issue with the wording of the council’s statement of claim, which says: “The defender’s encampment is an obstruction to the peaceful use and enjoyment of Portobello beach by the ­public.”

The American-born relation of the Mitford sisters said: “I had already moved out and my sleeping bag was gone.

“Everything they have asked me to do, I have done. The minute I had the verbal request I was gone. But I moved back in to the tent last night.”

He claimed he had housed three pianos in the tent since March, two of which he has since sold.

He said it was inaccurate to describe any of the instruments as a “grand piano”, but he likened the beach to a makeshift showroom.

A Edinburgh City Council spokeswoman said: “Following a court order issued on Friday, Mr Treuhaft has appealed the sheriff court’s notice of eviction.”

It is understood that due to Mr Treuhaft’s appeal, the council cannot act on the original decree to evict him for a 28-day period, to give the sheriff time to reconsider her decision.

Mr Treuhaft said that despite the council’s stance, Portobello residents had been widely supportive of his seaside living arrangements.

However, a minority have not been so keen.

He said: “An elderly woman cut the tent line this morning.

“She screamed at me, and said she didn’t pay council tax in order to have a view of my ugly tent.” Up until the start of the week, Mr Treuhaft had been living with his friend Mirka, whom he met while camping on the beach.

He said: “I have now got another 28 days, which is going to be stretched to 28 months or 28 years.”

The father-of-two originally left his Morningside family home and moved to the seaside after an argument with his wife. His madcap living arrangements made national headlines after they were revealed by the News.