Eighties pop legend Gary Numan is fleeing Sussex over fears of rampaging yobs.

The electro pop pioneer says his family do not feel safe in the leafy village of Waldron, near Uckfield, so he is moving them to the United States.

He said the recent riots, which at their closest were 40 miles north of his home, had been the final straw.

Fellow villagers said his concerns were “absolutely astounding”

and described a rural setting more in line with Downton Abbey than downtown Los Angeles.

But Mr Numan, 53, insists his wife, Gemma, and their three children, Raven, Persia and Echo, have been subjected to vile insults while walking the streets of Wealden.

He told the Daily Record: “We live right out in the country. It is very rural and there are no big cities. You would think it would be the most peaceful place in the world and it is very pretty and relatively affluent. Yet the other day my wife was walking down the High Street and a bunch of kids between 12 and 14 were telling her what they would like to do to her. She had my children with her. You’ve got to be kidding.”

Mr Numan, most famous for his hits Cars and Are Friends Electric, went on say: “The day after the riots, I got onto the lawyer and said, ‘let’s do it – get on with it’. I do love being English and I am not anti the country but I have got to think of the children.

“America clearly has its own problems, but Santa Monica is great. It has beautiful beaches and the Pacific Ocean. There is not one bit of trouble and not one surly or aggressive person there. Everyone is friendly.

You ask the teenagers there for directions and they are polite and helpful.

“Do that here and you are as likely to get stabbed as you are to get directions. The fact is the English are pretty miserable.”

A comparison of crime statistics for the two areas shows that for the last available month Wealden had 30 incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour, compared to 317 offences recorded for the city of Santa Monica.

The American city recorded 14 assaults with a deadly weapon compared to none in Wealden. There were 16 counts of grand theft auto, compared to zero vehicle crimes in Wealden.

Wealden District councillor Dick Angel said: “I can’t say I’ve ever heard of him, so it wouldn’t be much of a loss. I think it’s absolutely astounding he could say this.”

Uckfieldmayor John Carvey said: “It seems quite strange to me to think you will be safer in America than you would be in a sleepy village like Waldron.”

Father David Charles, the priest in charge of All Saints church in Waldron, said: “There’s only a couple of hundred residents and they are mostly retired. If there are any gangs roaming about I’ve certainly missed them.”