THE owner of a confectionery business in the region may have been downhearted when Duncan Bannatyne and his fellow dragons refused to part with their cash on the BBC's Dragon's Den - but he has had the last laugh.

Frank Lia, managing director of Chocpix, in Barnard Castle, County Durham, has agreed a deal with Comic Relief.

With every purchase of a red nose this year, Chocpix has designed a chocolate that reveals a 3D picture when held up to the light.

Frank Lia, managing mirector of Chocpix, went on the hit BBC show in November to pitch his idea to potential investors, only to be rejected.

At the time, Peter Jones, said: "The only thing that would happen to my money is that it would melt."

But now products made by Chocpix, based on the town's Harmire Enterprise Park, will be enjoyed by millions in the run-up to Red Nose Day on March 16.

Six Chocpix squares have been commissioned by Comic Relief, including characters from Doctor Who and Wallace and Gromit. The chocolate used is Fairtrade and made with cocoa beans, from Kuapa Kokoo, a farmers co-operative in Ghana.

He said: "With eight million Red Noses in circulation, each with a Chocpix chocolate square, this is our biggest order yet and is likely to make Chocpix a household name."

Comic Relief will also be selling two large Chocpix bars of Dr Who and Wallace and Gromit on their web site