TWO thieves walked out of an Oxford music shop with a rare £1,900 electric guitar hidden in a secret coat pocket.

The pair are alleged to have distracted staff at PMT Music in Cowley Road while they swapped the Fender Stratocaster – one of only 20 of the model made worldwide – with a cheap secondhand guitar they put back on the wall.

Yesterday PMT Music released two pictures from its security camera system of two people it would like to contact police as part of their enquiries.

The company also put up a £500 reward for information leading to a conviction of the people responsible for Saturday’s theft.

Manager Dan O’Donnell said the theft of the guitar was “unbelievably brazen.”

He said: “I just couldn’t believe the nerve of the thieves. “Two people were very well spoken and smartly dressed and said they were looking to buy an expensive guitar for their son for a birthday present.

“The man had what looked like a medium length jacket draped over his arm, which we now know had a huge pocket inside.

“They then picked up the guitar, put it in the pocket and replaced the Fender on the wall with a cheap secondhand guitar.

“He then draped the jacket over his shoulder, before the pair just sauntered out.

“They were unbelievably brazen.”

Fender Stratocasters are one of the world’s most famous guitar models. First launched in 1954, the ‘Strat’, has been used by musicians such as Buddy Holly, John Lennon and Eric Clapton.

Mr O’Donnell said footage from the store’s CCTV system between 3.30pm and 4.10pm on Saturday had been handed to police.

The firm has put up the reward because sister stores have also been the victims of theft.

Mr O’Donnell said: “This particular guitar was one of just 20 exclusive to PMT. “We have put up a £500 reward because it is the third time in two months that a PMT store has been targeted nationwide.

“If anyone recognises the people in these images or has any information about the theft they should tell police straight away.”

Thames Valley Police spokesman Chris Kearney said officers were investigating, and urged witnesses to anyone with information should call 08458 505505.