A BUSINESSMAN left Dragons’ Den with a deal – despite not receiving investment from the show’s stars.

Paul Stanley, from Haywards Heath, appeared on the hit BBC2 show last night.

Paul owns the Cloven Hoof rum company, which was founded in Brighton, and was hoping to get an investment from the Dragons.

The entrepreneur, who launched the rum in 2017, was looking for £50,000 investment from the Dragons in return for ten per cent of his company.

However Paul played the Dragons at their own game by not telling them he had secured an investment for his company just moments before pitching his idea on the show.

Paul said: “I got investment for Cloven Hoof while waiting backstage to meet the Dragons.

“With that in the bag I decided to play the Dragons a bit and inflated the price I was asking for.

“These two private equity guys who had been hounding me for months about investing found out I was doing the show and upped their game.”

Despite having a deal in the bag Paul still went out and put on a show for the Dragons.

He said: “I went on with a rock band and we smoked out the den and rocked it.

Peter Jones said the pitch was best he’d ever seen.

“Deborah Meaden was very close but once I revealed what I’d done backstage they all dropped out.

“I think their egos got a bit of a drubbing.

“Having done all that I wasn’t sure how I would come across once the show was edited.

“I could have been turned into a hero or a villain without knowing.”

Paul started Cloven Hoof rum two years ago, having been left disillusioned with the rums on the market.

The spiced drink was launched at Dead Wax Social, in Bond Street, and Paul has been delighted with the rate at which it has grown.

He said: “I thought it would be a very Brighton centric drink.

“But it’s popped up in rock bars in major towns and cities now too.

“It’s a dark aged rum, flavoured with natural spices. It has quite a bold flavour, it’s not your average wishy-washy spiced rum.

“It’s a bit like Marmite, you’ll either love it or hate it.”

The rum has received high praise in the rock world, with Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell saying it is the best rum he’s ever tasted.

Paul hopes to continue expanding Cloven Hoof across the UK and has plans to take the drink to Europe.