Following the widely reported departure of Sue Perkins from the world of social media yesterday after suffering at the hands of trolls, ‘Top Gear’ co-presenter James May has waded into the controversy by taking to Twitter to condemn them, saying “we don’t want them as fans”.

The 52 year old, who is currently preparing to go on tour with a ‘Top Gear’ spin-off alongside Richard Hammond and the sacked Jeremy Clarkson, posted “If you’re one of the people sending death threats to @sueperkins could you please do the world a much bigger favour by killing yourself.”

James MayJames May struck back at Sue Perkins' Twitter trolls

A few minutes later on Wednesday morning, he added “Obviously I don't actually want people to kill themselves but, really, we don't want them as fans.” Just to clarify, in case he gets accused of trolling himself.

More: Sue Perkins quits Twitter because of ‘Top Gear’ trolls

On Tuesday, the ‘Great British Bake Off’ presenter blamed the deluge of abusive tweets for forcing her off the microblogging site after reports emerged last week that she was being considered as the replacement presenter for the popular motoring show, which sacked Clarkson last month.

“Guys, post the utterly fabricated story about me and Top Gear, my timeline has been full of blokes wishing me dead. This morning, someone suggested they'd like to see me burn to death,” she tweeted. “All of which goes to say that I am off Twitter for a bit. Love and peace x.”

At one point last week, Perkins was touted as the odds-on favourite to replace Clarkson, according to bookmakers Coral, though these have been lengthened since Perkins has denied any interest. Dermot O’Leary, Chris Evans and Philip Glenister have also been suggested as candidates.

More: Will Jeremy Clarkson stay silent on his ‘Top Gear’ exit so live shows can go ahead?