CONCORD, Pa. (AP) _ It took teacher Vince DeMarro more than a year to get his handmade bagpipes ready to play. It took some students a couple of hours to sell the instrument, by mistake, at a flea market.

''I have been in a full-fledged panic,'' DeMarro told the Delaware County Daily Times on Monday.

DeMarro, a teacher at Garnet Valley High School, had placed his precious pipes in a closet at school. The high school band was storing flea market items in the same closet.

The students set the bagpipes out on a table. DeMarro came by a little later and asked how the fund-raiser was going.

''Great 3/8 We just sold the bagpipes - for $7 3/8'' a student told him.

They searched in vain for the man, who had said he wanted to hang the instrument on the wall of his trailer at the New Jersey shore.

''I could see the pain in their faces, but I told them it was really nobody's fault. You can't condemn over-eagerness,'' DeMarro said.

DeMarro had hoped to play the instrument in public for the first time this week, after lovingly curing the leather air bag and carefully shaving the reeds to produce the right tone.

''All that work down the drain,'' DeMarro said.

A reward of $50 was offered for any information about the instrument.

''There's a big emptiness in one little portion of my musical library,'' he said. ''I do feel the loss, because of all the time invested in the instrument.''