Former pop star Gary Glitter has been released from prison in England after serving half of a 16-year prison sentence for sexually abusing three young girls in the 1970s.

The 79-year-old singer, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was freed from a prison in Dorset, in south-west England on Friday.

It is common for offenders in the UK to be freed halfway through their sentences and then be placed on probation.

Former pop star Gary Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London. (AAP)
Former pop star Gary Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London in 2015. (AAP)

“Sex offenders like Paul Gadd are closely monitored by the police and Probation Service and face some of the strictest licence conditions, including being fitted with a GPS tag,” the Ministry of Justice said in a statement.

“If the offender breaches these conditions at any point, they can go back behind bars.”

The singer was found guilty of one count of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13.

Gary Glitter, trial, court room
Glitter listening to his guilty verdict in a Vietnam court in 2006. He was sentenced to three years in prison for committing obscene acts with two underaged girls in Vietnam. (Getty)

Glitter was arrested in October 2012 under Operation Yewtree, the national investigation launched in the wake of the child abuse scandal surrounding the late BBC entertainer Jimmy Savile.

Glitter is best known for the hit Rock & Roll (Part 2), released in 1972, but he fell into disgrace after being convicted on child abuse charges in Vietnam.

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