A FORMER reality TV star hopes to fulfil a dream and open an exotic petting zoo in Runcorn.

Dad-of-five Scott Gavin appeared on the Channel 5 show The Big Benefits Handout in 2016.

The documentary asked families on the dole what they would do if their annual state handouts were given to them in a cash lump sum.

The 33-year-old and his wife Leanne, 28, used £26,000 from the show to launch an animal educational visiting company Party Central Entertainments.

The couple now employ nine staff and have created a jungle room with 120 exotic animals on Kirby Industrial Estate.

Scott believes Phoenix Park in Castlefields or land in Murdishaw could be the ideal location for his next venture.

He wants to bring monkeys, racoons, large snakes, insects and Asian cats to live in a natural environment.

“The aim is to have what no one else has,” said Scott, from Kirby, who has qualifications to handle wild animals including crocodiles and cobras.

“Staff will be walking round with animals on their shoulders or on leads. Children will be able to stroke them. It will be a full hands-on experience.

“Our buildings will be wooden and everything would have to be approved by zoo inspectors and council officials. I would make sure I meet all the requirements.”

Scott, a qualified electrician, completed the first year of a degree in zoology and left to set up his own company.

“My dad Gavin kept parrots,” said Scott, who has a racoon, Eagle Owl, and Burmese python at home. “I got my first snake when I was seven and used to collect insects and put them in my sock drawers.

“I’ve always been fascinated with exotic animals.

“My final dream is the zoo. It is everything I ever wanted to achieve.

“It could cost £150,000 to £200,000. We have money put away and I’ve got private investors “We could create 20 jobs. I’d love it to be open early next year.”

Scott has not submitted a planning application yet.