INFAMOUS hoaxer Wearside Jack is set to be released from prison within weeks, it was reported today.
Unemployed labourer John Humble - the man who derailed the hunt for Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe - could be free as early as mid-October.
The Sunderland Echo reported that preparations were now under way into how Humble, of Flodden Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland, will be managed and protected once he is back in the community.
Should his release be given the go ahead, Humble will have spent only half his eight-year sentence behind bars.
The 54-year-old pleaded guilty to four counts of perverting the course of justice at Leeds Crown Court in March 2006 having been arrested at his home the previous October.
His infamous hoax letters and tape saw police, who in 1979 were leading the hunt for the real Ripper, decamp their investigation from Yorkshire to Sunderland.
Detectives were convinced the voice of the tape came from the Castletown area of the city and, while they focused their inquiries there, Peter Sutcliffe went on to kill three more women.
Northumbria Probation Service would not comment directly on Humble’s case.
Dave Gardiner, area director of operations for the service, said: "When an offender is due to be released from prison on licence, preparations begin several months prior to the release date.
"The probation service works closely with the prison service to examine the rehabilitation work the offender has completed whilst in prison and how this can be continued in the community.
"A risk assessment is undertaken and a risk management plan put in place, which can involve a number of different agencies including police, probation, housing, drug and alcohol treatment agencies and training providers.
"The risk assessment and risk management plan takes into account a number of factors, including the risk of harm the offender poses to the public, the likelihood of their re-offending and other external factors.
"If an offender has a high profile, then this has to be factored into the risk assessment and risk management plan, and the profile itself as well as the individual and their offending behaviour has to be managed in order to protect the public.
"This may involve preventing the offender from returning to their former home and additional monitoring.
"The offender is subject to strict licence conditions identified to manage their risk and proportionate to their offence, and these conditions must be strictly adhered to or the offender will be recalled to prison."