Christian Skjaerstad is a neighbour and childhood friend of Alexander and Thomas Hunter.
He says the 21-year-old's were normal boys, and was shocked to hear about the scam.
More top news
Emma Jesson brings you Saturday night's forecast
Feeling much colder later on Saturday. Wintry showers possible on Sunday and Monday
The pressure group Ashley Out has called for demonstrations outside every Sports Direct store within a 20-mile radius of St James' Park.