ALAN MCEWEN

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A GUITAR worth £2000 stolen from a rock band staying at a city hotel before they performed at T in the Park has been recovered after thieves tried to sell the instrument in a music shop for £150.

The custom-made ‘Handle’ guitar was stolen from Californian four-piece Le Blonde Dames while they were staying at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the High Street.

The thieves took the guitar, which they had wrapped in a bin liner, to a string of shops in the Capital on Saturday following the theft in a bid to sell it, but the boss of one business in Newington became suspicious after the two young men turned up with the rare instrument and asked, “Do you want to buy a guitar?”

He refused their offer and called police, who say they have now managed to recover the guitar but will not say how.

They are still hunting the pair of thieves and are following a “positive line of inquiry”.

The guitar is to be reunited with owner and band member Chris Garcia while Le Blonde Dames perform in London.

The group were shocked to discover the guitar had been snatched some time between 6.30pm on Friday and 10.30am on Saturday.

The theft was only spotted as the band prepared to leave Edinburgh to take to the stage at the festival in Balado, near Kinross.

Police said Garcia was “delighted” to learn he would be reunited with his prized instrument in time for their next gig.

The music store boss, who alerted police, said: “I get offered stuff to buy from time to time and these two young guys came in and said, ‘Do you want to buy a guitar?’. It was wrapped in a bin liner and they wanted £150 for it.

“Clearly they had no idea what they had. I looked it up in the catalogue and it’s a carbon fibre guitar which sells for £2300. You have to get them specially made and there’s no-one who sells them in this area.

“It turns out they had been going round all the music shops trying to sell it. I contacted the police and they said a guitar like that had been stolen.

“I’m glad the guitar was reunited with the band.”

The unusual band, who come from Alhambra in California, feature two guitarists, Jesse Chavez and Chris Garcia, and two drummers, Anthony Zepeda and Nathan Flores.

A police spokesman said: “The band were very disappointed to have been targeted while visiting the country for T in the Park and we are delighted to have been able to recover the guitar and return it to them while they are still in Britain.

“We would like to thank the member of staff at the music store for his intuitiveness and integrity and we continue to investigate to find those responsible for this theft.”

Anyone with any information on the theft is asked to contact police on 0131-311 3131, or the charity Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.

amcewen@edinburghnews.com