A homeless man was found sleeping inside a children’s playhouse during the clean-up of a popular park.
The shock discovery at Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park was made after a group of the nature reserve’s supporters turned out for their second annual spring clean.
The multi-coloured plastic Wendy house – looking out across the Pentlands and Burdiehouse Road – was said to have been surrounded by “an accumulation of rubbish” but was not initially thought to be inhabited.
It was only after the Wendy house was reported to the council’s task force that it emerged a man had in fact been living in it, using a metal bin liner as a temporary heater.
Housing officials were then alerted and the man is understood to have now been given temporary accommodation.
Donald Anderson, chair of the Friends of Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park, said he was saddened when he was informed someone had been living in such conditions.
He said: “I was really shocked to discover from council staff that someone had been living in the Wendy house and using the bin liner as a fire.
“Homelessness is a very serious issue and the park is obviously there for people to enjoy, but not for rough sleeping.
“I was delighted that council staff gave the proper advice and help to try and tackle this person’s problems.
“I really hope there’s a happy ending and that he gets a proper roof over his head.
“Everyone is welcome in the park at any time, but it’s not an appropriate place for rough sleeping.”
Mr Anderson urged anyone who found themselves homeless to seek help by contacting the council.
He added: “The Friends group has been organising clean-ups in the park since it was founded nearly ten years ago and whilst we’ve found an array of strange things over the years, this is the first time we’ve discovered that someone was living there.
“Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park is one of Edinburgh’s finest green spaces and we’ll continue to work hard to keep it as clean as possible.”
The Wendy house was removed a few days after it was reported to the council.
Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said the discovery highlighted the need for more to be done.
He said: “We know that in Edinburgh and across Scotland, homelessness is still far from fixed.
“While rough sleeping is the most visible form of homelessness in our communities, it is just the tip of the iceberg of the problem.
“Scotland has some of the strongest homelessness prevention legislation in the world, but a shortage of affordable homes and suitable temporary accommodation, combined with ongoing welfare reforms, mean that for far too many people the right to a home is not the same as getting a home.
“Our Homelessness: Far From Fixed campaign is calling for a new, joined up strategic response to homelessness to better co-ordinate local and national services to prevent and tackle the human tragedy of homelessness.”