Andy Coulson will be released from prison later this week, according to unconfirmed reports.

The former News of the World editor and Downing Street communications boss is set to be freed on Friday, the Daily Mail said.

Coulson, 46, was jailed for 18 months on July 4 after he was found guilty of conspiring to intercept voicemails at the now-defunct Sunday tabloid following an eight-month trial at the Old Bailey.

If he is released on Friday, it would mean he has served less than five months in custody.

The Ministry of Justice declined to comment on an individual prisoner but said inmates can be released under home detention arrangements before they have served half of their term.

A spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual cases.

“Public protection is our first priority. Only prisoners who pass a strict risk assessment can be released on home detention curfew (HDC).

“Offenders on HDC are subject to strict licence conditions and can be recalled to prison if they breach them.”

Prisoners can be considered for HDC if they are serving a sentence of more than three months and less than four years and have served a quarter of their sentence.

Mr Coulson’s lawyer declined to comment on the reports.

He was previously held at HMP Belmarsh in south east London but it was reported in September that he was moved to Hollesley Bay, an open prison in Suffolk, to serve the rest of his term.