Portobello piano man hit with £2000 council bill

Ben Treuhaft. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Ben Treuhaft. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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THE PORTOBELLO piano man has been hit with a £2,000 bill from the city council.

Ben Treuhaft, 66, has been told to pay legal costs over the bid to remove him and his tent from the beach.

The piano tuner set-up camp during the summer after his wife kicked him out of their home. After being forced to leave Portobello, he promptly relocated to Cramond Beach.

He said: “The council sent me a bill for more than £2,100. It covered their costs of putting a case against me.

“It’s a grossly padded bill. It’s just too much for council trips to the beach and lawyers.

“It’s lawyers on attack. In court, they promised to adjust the bill down if I was to leave quickly. I did. I just moved the tent somewhere else. They didn’t lower anything.

“Instead of reducing the bill, they piled on everything they could. All I was doing, was trying to defend my case. In Scotland, I think that’s how it goes.

“I don’t understand how it cost their lawyers £70 to walk three blocks to court, unless they were taking a limousine.

“I don’t have that kind of money. I could work it off with piano tuning.”

Edinburgh council chiefs insisted the musical tent breached the city’s management rules which prohibit camping within one mile of a public road.