CELEBRITY Chris Evans could become a partner in a New Forest pub that closed down after an arson attack.
The Tollhouse Inn in Lymington has undergone a massive revamp after suffering £100,000 damage in a blaze started by the landlord and his wife.
It is set to re-open today as The Haven Bar at the Monkey House having been taken over by Rob Smith, who also owns the The Haven Bar and Bistro at Lymington Yacht Haven.
Mr Smith, who painted a Lymington post box gold to honour the town’s Olympic sailing hero Sir Ben Ainslie, is a friend of the former TFI Friday star who is currently a presenter on Radio 2 and of the BC’s The One Show.
Multi-millionaire Mr Evans already owns a pub in Surrey.
Dean Thomas, 42, and his wife Melynda, 36, were jailed for six ad three years respectively for setting fire to The Tollhouse Inn by spreading petrol around the bar area and igniting it.
Southampton Crown Court heard how they started the blaze because of mounting debts while Melynda’s teenage daughter and her boyfriend and a pub worker were asleep upstairs.
Both were found guilty of arson being reckless as to endanger life by a jury after denying the charge.
Dean Thomas was also given a 12-month prison sentence for perverting the course of justice to run concurrent to his six-year sentence after the couple tried to pin the blame on his brother-in-law.