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
A look ahead at the forecast for the Tyne Tees region.
The Met Office confirm this summer has been cooler and wetter than average
The red panda and Rothschild giraffe were born at the North Yorkshire attraction this summer.