One of the killers of toddler James Bulger has been returned to a British prison after breaching the conditions of his release, according to reports.

Jon Venables was 10 when he and a friend tortured and beat the two-year-old to death by a railway line in Liverpool.

He was jailed for a minimum of eight years in 1993 and released in 2001.

The Reuters news agency said Venables, 27, was returned to custody following "an undisclosed breach of the conditions surrounding his release in 2001 on licence".

The justice ministry said in a statement: "We can confirm that Jon Venables has been recalled to custody following a breach of licence conditions.

"Offenders on licence are subject to strict conditions. If they breach those conditions they are subject to immediate recall."

- NZ HERALD STAFF