JIMI Hendrix’s stolen guitar could support the future of music in Darlington, says a man who is hunting for the long-lost instrument.

The theft of the guitar legend’s black Fender Stratocaster is one of the town's greatest unsolved mysteries.

Hendrix played just one gig in the town, performing at the Imperial Hotel – the Imp – in March 1967.

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The small venue would have struggled to hold the amount of people who now say they were there to see the guitar virtuoso take to the stage.

The gig swiftly became the stuff of myth and legend, with every man and his dog insisting they were there the night Jimi Hendrix’s guitar was nicked.

It is true, however, that a crowd member stole a prized guitar from the man responsible for changing the face of music.

Rumours abound as to what happened that night, with some saying the instrument was smuggled out of the venue under a trenchcoat and has exchanged hands several times since.

In 2008, musician Tony Carrington claimed he bought the stolen instrument for just £20 and had sold it on himself, saying it played horribly.

The current whereabouts of the guitar – which could be worth more than £100,000 – remain a mystery.

Hendrix tribute band Sundance are hoping their latest ‘amnesty’ will see it finally unearthed from its hiding place.

The act’s 45th anniversary gig will be staged at The Avalon in Darlington on Saturday, September 19 and members are hoping the long-lost instrument will make an appearance.

Sundance’s Simon Cassidy pledged to auction the guitar and use the proceeds to launch a music foundation in Jimi Hendrix’s honour.

He said: “Rumour has it that it’s still in Darlington and it’s one of the town’s biggest secrets.

“It’s probably been stuck in someone’s bedroom or on top of a cupboard as not a lot of people would be able to play it in the way he had it set up.

“We’d get it authenticated and auction it to start an arts foundation here in memory of Jimi Hendrix.

“That way, some good can come of it – it’d be nice to do something beautiful following something so shameful.”

He added: “Jimi Hendrix changed the face of music forever and his lasting memory of Darlington was of being robbed – it’s a sad story.”

Anyone with information can contact Mr Cassidy by visiting facebook.com/SundanceUK.